Social sciences - prescient or not

He was lamenting the lack of intellectual stimulus for students majoring in Science.

Reams of facts have to be memorized, tested then forgotten. It seemed fairly pointless. He could have scored a string of As without understanding the whys and hows.

Social sciences - psychology, economics, political science - are, comparatively, more relevant to real life.

But, as he studied these disciplines, there was an increasing awareness of how inward looking they essentially are. There is an obsession with examining the past to project into the future. There is an unhealthy preoccupation with sitting around in comfy chairs to criticise current affairs without engaging in meaningful, forward-looking activities.

Make no mistake: criticism is necessary for progress. But such criticism must be tempered with good sense. There must be a limit at which people cease writing superfluously long essays and start making a difference with their actions. Well-meaning intentions must be augmented with proactive changes.

So, where does this leave him?

He must learn to love the earth sciences; there's no point being miserable over it. After all, chemistry is an acquired taste. The subject is like the Hunchback of Notre Dame - fairly ugly at a distance but really quite lovable up close.

He must read the finest readings in the social sciences and diligently apply the hard-earned knowledge. It is easy to lapse into a state of limbo, but no, he mustn't do that.

To balance earth sciences with social sciences... Now, that's an art.