Nonsense is the New Making Sense at UC Berkeley
Nonsense is the new making sense. At least at UC Berkeley Dept of Psychology where Professors Tania Griffith and Tomas Lombrazo co-teach their Proseminar: Foundations of Disassociative Cognition. CCN: 84955
Much like an immersive foreign language course, students in “Disassocitive” Class are asked to stop making sense as soon as they walk through the door.
Professor Lombrazo explains, “Disassociative Cognition is a manner of thinking in which a person is able to make connections between things which are in no way connected. These are not random thoughts, these are the thoughts that we cannot think, that we do not think. You’ve heard people say think outside the box. Well that’s bullshit. The only way to truly think outside the box is to go further into the box. We’re done with boxes. Stop thinking that way. Reality is a hoax.”
Lombrazo states, ”Most people connect one idea logically to the next idea it’s associated with in their mind. They think bear, they think honey, they think bees. That way of thinking just doesn’t work in today’s world where nothing makes sense. I think bear, then I think garden, I think cave. The average mind might make the connection between bear and garden, and certainly to cave. But the disassociative mind does not make this connection. Any relationship that any concepts have to each other is purely coincidental. Associative thinking always attempts to make connections where there are none. The world does not make sense. Nonsense doesn’t need to. Can’t you see that!”
Professor Griffith takes the fully immersed approach. “Get to my coconuts. Gargle guppy papershred, lightnings. That mushroom tarantula be crucifixion parentheses. Please ganamede tithe my pants width. Purty dawg see Dolphin turtle die.”
Most people practice logical cognition and associative thinking for their creative process. The two professors believe this is why the world is “infested” with popular media such as CSI, Avatar, and Miley Cirus.
One of their students, Randall Stott says, “Look you can’t go around living your life thinking things are alright and that is all going to be clear and meaningful. You know how your parents tell you life isn’t fair? Well life doesn’t make sense. Professors have taught me it’s all nonsense, and quite frankly I’d go one step further and say I doubt any of it is even real.”
The class which begins again this fall has a one line syllabus. “This course will survey the concepts of cognitiion and the fundamental concerns of a real world of sense which is comprised of nonsense.“
Word on campus is that the course is an easy “A”. Here are a few rumors about the class we heard on campus.
“One boy just beeped in a series of five-ten-five through all 40 course hours, and he was awarded an A.”
“A girl asked if she could go to the bathroom and she failed.”
“Jerry got a bunch of tattoos on his neck, shit in the corner then kept saying hello Franklins to it and got a B+.”
“Tommy told professor Griffith he was going to kick her in the box, then kissed her with his eyes open for his final project and received a A-“
“Cindy got caught doing Sudoku and was expelled.”
“Reese wagged his imaginary tail, barked at the mailman, and sat pretty all while playing Pac-Man. The professors called him a liar, gave him a jar of pickes, then made him sit pretty. I think he has to take the course again, because the next day he was acting like a cat and the one professor just lost his shit. I guess it made too much sense or something.”
“Melissa talked about her dolphin boyfriend and claimed to be a dolphin sexaholic, and ate nothing but Arthur Treachers for lunch. I think she was in the wrong class.”
“Carmen talked about Sam Neil’s mooostache and how he was a handsome man. Then laughed wildly Yoo Hoo Hoo Hoo. I mean Sam Neil? Really? I bet she got an A because that is horse shit.”
“Raymond started breaking pieces off his cast and built a tiny castle, then he poured iodine and dead ants on it. This was for a pop quiz which he aced”
“Vaugnn mostly counted. 1, 2, 3, 7, 1 , 2, 3, Cat, 1, 3, 2 Vector. Then he disappeared from campus for a while. When he came back he was riding a white lion and had on a top hat and tails. I think the was Valedictorian”
None of it makes much sense, but I guess that’s the point.
Professors Tania Griffith and Tomas Lombrazo co-teach their Proseminar: Foundations of Disassociative Cognition. CCN: 84955 CCN: 74941
Artwork provided by child prodigy Fritzy McGee age 7 who audited the course spring 2010 as part of the Children in College program.