Monday, March 16, 2009

Rocks and Sociology

Deming's fairgrounds are out a ways, down Florida Street all the way past Pepper's pretty-good grocery (tip of the hat to Garrison) and the Chaparral elementary school, a little jog to the right and left at Country Club Road, and down a long road past the animal shelter and some lonely businesses until you reach the fairground, a couple of steel buildings and a wide space enclosed by chain-link fence.

It was the 44th annual "Rockhouse Roundup" this weekend. Beautiful gems, minerals, fossils, giodes, and diverse rocks of interest, some harvested locally and others from around the world, were gathered here to meet and greet visitors from all over the country.

To think I nearly skipped it. Sarah and the baby went out while I got ready for my Zen group's Sunday morning sitting, and by the time I joined them Gabriel was delighting the masses with his familiar patter, a rhythmic scat song of nonsense words punctuated by a sort of barking sound he has perfected.

A fella from Silver City had marked down his stone beads, and I bought some, thinking I could make Buddhist malas and sell them to raise a little cash for the Zen group...

It seems I am already looking ahead towards summer vacation, no surprise, filling the time up with activities, and piling up the books I'll finally have time to read.

Spent a little reading time this weekend on a summary of trends in sociology. The more I read about education (for my license and the academic courses I must take), the more interested I become in sociology -- in a sense, the various metaphysics of what a society is, what makes it tick, and what makes people tick.

There are some very interesting approaches to the question, but none so far that deal with the basic metaphysic of "I," the great unexamined notion. The agate beads in the picture above seem to connect into a unified society, and sociologists try to study the string holding them together. A few also look at the individual and make statements about the string, but often those statements themselves contain assumptions that are conditioned, that have not found where the water comes out of the rock (mixing my metaphors now).

Is it useful? Some of it is, for broadening approaches that help us talk with people, to liberate our own limiting views and share that view with another. Zen talk and forms appeal to few of us. A humanist approach to basic education and other social services requires some intellectual work but the potential results have much to offer by way of liberation, personally and socially.

And even as I entertain such ideas, I find myself playing with pretty rocks, holding them and pushing them around, much like Gabriel does.


Pam said...

I would love that gem fair!

When I was an undergraduate I started snapping up sociology courses after getting hooked on the first one. Same for psych courses. I even considered changing my major.

I find sociology fascinating.

Ji Hyang said...

really beautiful rocks. When stacked together, they form an ivory tower--

Debby said...

Sure, sociology is useful. That reaching out in an attempt to understand another person is always a blessing, not only to the person reaching, but the person reached. We all have a basic need to be understood, and it is understanding others that we begin to understand our own natures, our own niche in the cosmos. Really, we are all capable of coexisting alongside each other, like these beautifully strung stones. We've got to learn this.