Giving the benefit of the doubt. sort of.

I had to stifle a laugh this morning in my philosophy class.  Let me paint the picture for you:

My brilliant professor was beginning to talk about Immanuel Kant, the German philosopher.  As usual, I was writing down all the important things, trying to get down everything that would help me understand it later when I look back at my notes and need to translate it into a paper.  I’ve got charts in my notes and arrows.  There are little scribbles in the margins.  I have at least three pages of notes by the middle of the class.  Granted, I write sort of big, so it might be more like 2 pages of normal handwriting.

That’s when I happen to glance over to the notebook of the big, bulky football player next to me.

Here’s what he had written down:

“Immanuel Kant”

And that was it.  So, according to him, Kant exists.  That’s all he’ll know when he looks back at his notes.  There once was a man named Immanuel Kant.  And maybe he’ll remember that he was a philosopher.

I so badly wanted to pause time for everyone but me and this guy so that I could ask him some questions.

1.  Why are you here?  You don’t have to be.  You could have picked a different class to fulfill this requirement, one that wasn’t philosophy of political ethics.

2.  What good is that little bit of note-taking going to do you?

3.  Oh, you’re going to remember everything he’s saying without writing it down?  Mind sharing your secret?

4.  But really… why are you here?

These are the questions that haunted my morning.  Why would you take a 2000 level philosophy class if you didn’t want to learn about major philosophers?   I mean, if you’re going to take notes on anyone, take notes on Kant!  Because I took notes, I can tell you that after Kant published his works, every single year at least 2,000 people write things about them.  And that number hasn’t decreased at all over the years – it’s gone up.

But you, tough guy, you won’t even take notes on a lecture about him.

I am very obviously passing judgment on this poor, unsuspecting guy.  Perhaps I should give him the benefit of the doubt that he loves this class.  He actually took in everything that my professor said and will repeat it to his roommate over dinner tonight.  He actually called his mom right after class to tell her how excited he was about learning about Kant.

Benefit of doubt = given.

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