I received an e-mail about the mini-conference for The Sociological Imagination Group‘s miniconference that occurs concurrent to the American Sociological Association meetings. As it’s name suggests, the group takes much inspiration from C. Wright Mills’s book The Sociological Imagination, published in 1949. One of the group’s leaders says in the e-mail:
Mills was a Moses who took social scientists to the Promised Land yet was unable to enter it himself. . . Yet here we are, next to that Promised Land, or ‘the promise of sociology.’ I am convinced that our failure to move into it at this time in history may well decide the future of the human race. Do we have the guts, the understanding and the ability to change what is required to enter that land? Can we learn to take on the enormous responsibility that this historical situation places on our shoulders? Can we come to see ourselves as the only individuals on earth who have already developed the basis for providing leadership in moving toward fulfilling the promise of sociology?
Sometimes I think I just don’t believe enough in what I am doing. Honestly. Someone I know who is A Name in her field says about her work: “I’m on a mission from God.” Meant metaphorically, as far as I know she’s not a theist. When she says it I think: “I wonder if people who feel like they are on a mission from God procrastinate.”
On an only-obliquely-related front, a friend sent me a link today from this post about how you can use tried-and-true-cult-techniques in order to brainwash yourself to be more productive. Consider if the described techniques were actually effective and actually did constitute “brainwashing” in all its connotative glory. It’d be kind of the professional academic equivalent of the dilemma of using performance enhancing drugs in professional sports, if such drugs were legal: “Sure, you might be averse to brainwashing, but: you want to keep up? Brainwash yourself!”