[TIL]Writing About Your Interests.

So, some of you may know, I’m a university student, I’m one (1,800+ pages of material) test away from finishing my second year, studying Philosophy and Sociology/Anthropology. And one of the bennies when you get a too-open assignment, is to write about shit you care about. I wrote an assignment on Holism in analyzing RPGs.

This is actually not the first time I’ve done something like this. The first time we were asked to write a major assignment (around 20-30 pages) was in the fifth grade, and I wrote about Dungeons and Dragons. I hunted down the articles in Hebrew written about it, publications translated on satanism, psychology, how the game was brought into Israel, etc. This was back when “Mitzuv” the company that brought D&D to Israel existed, and TSR too, so I just had my mom go to their offices and photocopy that stuff for me.
I might actually still have this assignment somewhere, perhaps even on a computer (though if I do, it’s in Hebrew).

Now, I had a course in Philosophy about Holism, we’ve discussed the topic mainly through the lens of the Philosophy of Science and the Philosophy of Language, and a broad-picture was painted. We were told (we were told on the first lesson, so it didn’t come as a surprise) to write an assignment regarding Holism, anything we wanted.
And then came the time to write the assignment, and I wasn’t sure what to write about, so I turned to my interests, things I didn’t need to do major reading about in order to crank out a roughly 7 page assignment, because being the procrastinator that I am, there was no time.

I recalled the arrow diagram of The Big Model in RPGs, and how all the levels had to be taken into account, especially in light of “The Lumpley Principle” (“System (including but not limited to ‘the rules’) is defined as the means by which the group agrees to imagined events during play.”) and I set down to right.

Note, this assignment is obviously not without flaws, but I had constraints of time and space to begin with, and the paper had to be tailored to a specific audience. Roleplaying games may have needed a better explanation and breakdown, The Big Model deserves its own section, and of course, describing the roleplaying theory scene while giving everyone it credit too. But that was unfeasible. So things were simplified, and I’m sure some things were butchered.

Maybe it all makes me a bad academic, perhaps it even makes me a bad student, but the point is another: Use what you already know and care for when you can. Beat dealing with stuff you are either not passionate about (I quite like Philosophy, thank you), or need to read up on when you can avoid it (yes, I guess I am a bad proto-academic).

Here’s a direct link to the assignment, note, it’s a .doc (Word document, office 2000, ~2,000 words).

Also, this is the last day of the month, so expect some summary posts to follow this week, including my media breakdown, my purchases, a review of the Figures of the Month (I will see about that), and break-down traffic and posts made this month.

P.S. I know this is greek to most of you, “The Big Model”, “The Lumpley Principle”, etc. I touch on it in the paper you can read, and well, this is a blog about what I care for. And this is something I care for. So there you go.

P.P.S. The “About” page had been updated. The Links page still awaits completion.

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15 comments on “[TIL]Writing About Your Interests.

  1. lovelyduckie says:

    I am terrible at Philosophy, I took a few extra curricular courses of it to get some “easy A’s” and I just sucked at it. I don’t have a mind for it. I’m better off taking English courses where you read books and write papers on those books as my extra courses. I don’t have a mind for learning foreign languages for that matter either.

    • Guy says:

      Philosophy has some easy tests, mostly the historical ones, and in some topics (mostly Aesthetics around here), but also some really tough ones. And those who come to them expecting to get an “A” without studying at all are often quite rudely awakened.

      Part of it stems that not many want to study philosophy, so it’s very easy to get accepted into the courses.

      BTW, I got a 90 for that paper. I am yet to go to the university and pick it up with the notes.

      • lovelyduckie says:

        LOL none of my classes even had tests, they were all stating your opinions on things in paragraph long homework assignments and class participation. I actually tried harder then most in the class but I don’t approach the questions correctly.

    • Guy says:

      Ah, we have 6-8 page assignments, and tests.

      The tests usually involve very less memorization, and a lot, “Give us your opinion on XYZ”

  2. Snark says:

    I remember taking a 101 in philosophy back in my first year of uni. I did pretty well in it, though I can’t really recall all that much…I do remember we read Singer, Anselm and Decartes though -_-

    Anyway, I never really enjoyed it; I’ll stick to law.

  3. oneandonlyjem says:

    So, I clicked and opened up the word document from the redirected link.

    Initially, it was hard for me to follow without having the diagram there, but I understood it at the end. It was a very interesting read about the application of The Big Model in conjunction with The Lumpley Principle.

    I completely agree with the overall critique that you gave of your own paper, but such a thing is understandable when faced with time constraints and squeezing everything in a mere 7 pages or so. I think if you really got into the nitty gritty of the holism of videogames and used DD as your primary subject matter, your paper would very well transform into a thesis. I’m sure there’s plenty of time and academic assignments to prompt for a revisiting of this topic or at the very least, an analysis into another angle of this topic.

    I find that it’s much easier to draw upon things that are near and dear to your heart especially if you procrastinate such as myself. There’s no need to do pesky footnotes and full-on citations of everything as well as thorough research when you’ve got a rich background of experience to draw from.

    I’ve always enjoyed my philosophy, sociology, and psychology classes. Each one could explain the same thing from such a different vantage point that it could make an interconnecting relationship of the overall bigger picture.

    P.S. While completing off-topic and seemingly random, the “status” part at the very end of your “About Me” blurb was a nice touch to that section. I wasn’t half-expecting that you’d end it on that note :)

    • Guy says:

      Heh, sadly, citations are always necessary. But hopefully, you’ve already read a bunch if it’s something you really care for ;)

      I’m personally not as fond of endless citations.

      Re: The P.S. re-my P.S.
      Well, I added it later, a day later. I thought to myself, people come here to learn about me. People come here and read my stuff, and it’s not like the dating site I am on has me drowning in offers, so it can’t hurt.
      It’s not there to say, “I am super-geek! I am single!”, quite the opposite. I’d love someone to cuddle with.

  4. phossil says:

    Never made a long writing in my philoshophy class.

    • Guy says:

      Well, this year I’ll have to attend two seminars and write a 7-15 page paper, and a ~20 page paper. Double-spaces, but still.

  5. Noirsword says:

    Ugh. You’re majoring in two subjects I absolutely hate, being Philosophy and Sociology. I’d be hard pressed to write a decent Philosophy paper without exposing my true Nihilistic nature. Sociology is just the epitome of boring for me because I don’t particularly care for societies and the study of groups of people, but rather I prefer to examine individuals.

    Anyway have fun with college. I’m already done and do kind of miss it now.

    • Guy says:

      Erm, I study Philosophy so you won’t have to?

      I’m the kind of guy who can study more or less anything. I manufacture my own interest.

  6. Tommy says:

    There is nothing wrong going with what you’re passionate about. I don’t know why bother with something that they’re not interested in the first place…

  7. John Kim says:

    I got a 404 – File Not Found result when I clicked on the direct link.

    https://geekorner.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/holism-in-rpgs.doc

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