It's amazing to me how already my different courses and professors all seem to be pointing me unintentionally (at least from their perspective) to the same Truth, which is that God had a plan far more lengthy and detailed than my own when I set out from San Diego ten years ago this month. All four of my classes have made repeated reference to the importance of linguistics and language in the different areas of human knowledge and affairs.
My cognition class is extremely focused on the study of observable behavior as it pertains to the collection of processes known as "cognition." There are four main processes: perception, memory, thinking, and comprehension. One area where cognitive analysis is currently very interested is in the acquisition and processing of language, where we can directly measure the output based on the successful retention and use of another language.
In philosophy, we've already discussed how the empiricists such as Berkeley and Hume struggled against the rationalists like Descartes and Leibniz for supremacy in defining whether knowledge comes ultimately from perception or reason, resulting in a revolutionary synthesis by Kant which allowed the two to coexist. The professor also went into detail about the Romanticist period following the Enlightenment and how it generated a resurgence of interest in the Classical period. He specifically mentioned Ferdinand de Saussure, a renowned linguist and philosopher who explored the idea of "signs," or his so-named relationship between words and the objects or concepts they signified. This is of particular import to philosophy because Kant had previously argued that a "thing-in-itself" can never be known independently from the perceptual bias of its observer.
In theology, we've already explored and tried to define the nature of faith, whether it must necessarily be a quality of every individual to place "faith" in something or someone, and how one's faith in anything (be it the Judeo-Christian God or even the concepts of secular humanism and scientific exploration) necessarily requires us to structure our life and actions around a set of core beliefs. Further, and I believe we'll delve into this more in the coming weeks, we've talked about morality as it pertains to faith, and how moral codes are established and lived out by individuals and by groups.
Finally, in Linguistics itself, we've studied the mechanical process by which sounds are produced, and are beginning to unpack the places and methods of articulation. In each class, it amazes me how unique the gifts of language and communication are to human beings. I am very blessed to be at a school with a Jesuit worldview, and it reassures me to see that even the most atheistic professor (and there are still a few) can't help but muse at the possibility of man's special place in the order of the universe.
I won't go into too much detail about finances, but God has absolutely and unequivocally blessed me to be able to attend a university which costs the average undergrad $52k a year ($71k if they live in student housing) for a significantly reduced price, thanks both to the GI bill and some generous financial aid from the school. Based on the quality of the facilities, the caliber of the students and faculty, and the depth of the instruction I've already received, I'd say it's worth every penny.