Why I Teach What I Teach
Basically, I teach about us. About our world. The way our world is. What it is and how it came to be. And the way our world ought to be.
To begin with, I teach Research Methods.
I do that so we will know and understand and reason soundly and productively about our world – all that our world is and all that our world contains.
In addition, I teach Statistical Methods.
I do that so we will be able to increase the Validity (Truth-Quotient) and Reliability (Consistency and Replicability) of our knowledge of the world. And introduce greater rigor in our knowing and understanding and reasoning about the world.
Without a sound grasp of basic statistical concepts and procedures, our knowledge of the world is likely to be incomplete and possibly flawed.
I am also a closet Journalism Teacher.
I do so because, whether we like it or not, Journalism is still our primary Window on the World. The world will go completely dark if there were no Journalism.
But the challenge with Journalism is that it is mostly Anecdotalism: Story Telling. And the world has an inexhaustible cache of stories. Human life will end 50 times over, and the stories will never end. So, at the hands of the unscrupulous, Journalism becomes a drain on human life.
And marry that to crass Commercialism, you have no human life left worth talking about. Media slash Journalism grab your attention, take your money away from you, chip away your life nanosecond by nanosecond, and then finally sell you to the highest-bidding commercial interests and Profiteers.
And Journalism slash Media use every trick in and outside the book to accomplish these goals, some of which are detrimental to your personal wellbeing and also ruinous to the society in which you live and in some significant ways also to the whole world of which you are an inseparable part.
And, what else, today’s Journalism is mostly Entertainment. Even so-called Newsis. That is because of that crass Commercialism: you have got to make News “Fun” so people will read and watch you and listen to you. Or you go bust.
Price? Compromised Reality. And Diminished Truth Quotient. And a world that is totally uninformed or misinformed. A world whose brain has turned to mush. A world that is going places in a hand-basket, as they say.
And Journalism is mostly Human Interest. Meaning: sit around and tell stories, embellish them as needed and, in the process, feed readers and listeners and viewers and participants – I am thinking of the New Media and Social Media – every piece of garbage you can find or invent.
And in today’s world, much of Journalism is agenda-driven, politically beholden and subservient to powerful, self-seeking Commercial and Economic Interests. That means much of today’s Journalism is both literally and figuratively owned by ruthless Commercial Conglomerates who have no care, concern or regard outside their wallets and, what is called, their bottomline.
Around 200 super-executives “Control” what you read, watch and listen to? How about that?
As a result, today’s Journalism is also, in more ways than we can imagine, Morally Challenged. I was going to say “Spiritually Bankrupt.” But who am I to say something like that? For, I have no pretensions to “Spirituality” of any kind.
Even though I have a fairly well-honed sense that there are certain things in this world that are Right and then there are also certain things in this world that are Wrong. And people, it is my very firm conviction, must do the best they can to Do the Right Thing and Stay Away from Doing the Wrong Thing.
And, also, people have a right, but in my view also a duty, to tell each and to help each other to Do the Right Thing and Keep from Doing the Wrong Thing. Let me throw out a nice little theory about human reality: People, To Be People in This World, Need People.
That means we did not arrive here special delivery by storks.
People helped people every step of the way in every conceivable way to be people in this world: from conception to death and all the stages in between and every single aspect of human life on earth, individual as well as collective.
Anyone who thinks otherwise is either an idiot or a charlatan or quite likely both. So, why not help each other to be Better People: Doing the Right Thing and Not Doing the Wrong Thing?
No, at this stage, I am not going to define what Right and Wrong is. But let me tell you this: People generally have a working knowledge of what Right is and what Wrong is. You still insist on a definition? All right, how about this? Right is what you feel good doing, and you wish the whole world will watch you doing it.
And Wrong is what makes you feel bad doing it or contemplating it and you try to hide under all kinds of tables to keep the world from knowing and watching what you are doing. You try to hide it from everybody. How about that for a fairly Universal and Timeless Working Definition of Right and Wrong?
So, what is a man to do? A man who is bothered by all that is Wrong with the world? And with all the Pain and Suffering that saturate our world? And with all the Injustices that are so rife at every level?
And with all the Falsehood and Fraud that cover up those Injustices? And rationalize and even sugar-coat them? And minimize and pooh-pooh all that Pain and Suffering and Injustice?
So, finally, partly as a solution to this problem, I teach Public Relations, which to me is a way of fixing the world, changing it, and making it better: For All. For you and for your client, whether your client is an individual, a group, an organization, a business, a nation or even an idea or a cause or an issue.
“Change” of course is the easiest thing to define: Set the world on an inexorable path to a comprehensive Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Transformation, call it a Revolution if you will, such that in such a Newly Minted World it will be possible for everyone to Live Happily Ever After Doing the Right Thing and Not Doing the Wrong Thing.
Not just you and your “Kind,” or even just your Species, but Everyone Everywhere.
Is such a world possible? I wouldn’t be slaving away 48 hours a day, all 15 days a week, on building such a world if I thought for one moment that such a world could not be built, or that such a world was not possible.