Many years ago, I was at an educational conference.
Yes, believe it or not, I’m actually professional enough to go to conferences every so often (preferably not so often – they’re not my favourite way to spend my time). And, also believe it or not, my day job (or better paying hobby as I like to refer to it) is in the area of education. So it makes sense that I occasionally find myself at an educational conference.
Anyway, I can’t remember much about this conference. I don’t remember when it was or where it was. I remember pretty much zero about any presentations or sessions I attended (par for the course for me and conferences, I’m afraid).
But there is one thing I do remember. At some point during the conference, a humorous video was played. The video made fun of tertiary education. It made an impression. Years later, I was still quoting from it. Only problem was, I couldn’t locate it anywhere. I couldn’t remember the title. I couldn’t remember the name of the presenter. It was one of those things that disappeared into my past.
Recently, I mentioned it to some colleagues at work. Bingo. One of the guys knew what I was talking about. Even better, he was able to point my in the right direction. Which is why, eventually, I was able to rediscover this wonderful clip – Father Guido Sarducci’s Five Minute University.
This video was funny, back at the conference, and it’s still funny today. Not only that, but it’s frighteningly true. The idea that you come out of university with a kind of shorthand, single-sentence understanding of what you’ve studied was definitely my experience. And having worked ‘on the other side’ at a number of universities, it still seems to be the case. What do you need to know about economics? ‘Supply and demand.’ I love it.
Back in the day, I couldn’t help thinking what other courses could be taught at this university. And one that really struck me was psychology. I reckon the essence of psychology could be neatly covered up in the single statement:
People are bonkers.
It’s beautiful, it’s concise, and it’s undeniably true. Over the years, it has become a bit of a mantra for me. Whenever I find myself caught up in the vagaries and difficulties of managing relationships, whether personal or professional, I constantly remind myself: people are bonkers. It helps.
I reckon, you could even add in an honours year, as follows: some people are bonkers in a nice way. Some are bonkers in a not-so-nice way. But everyone is bonkers.
There you go. You know all about psychology. You also have a very useful rule of thumb for navigating the world. You don’t have to thank me. I don’t even expect payment.
Because, after all, I’m bonkers too.
Posted by Jonathan Gould and tagged as