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Let's do something else instead.

After long consideration, I've made the decision to actively begin circumventing the education process as it's been layed-out for me. Why, you may ask? Well, O' daimonic friend, I've judged that the path which has been set leads no-where. Seriously. No-where. There is no path to renewal there. There is no solution to the problems. The issues of modernity are recognized, but are either un-addressable for their sheer ugliness ("Nihilists! They're all nihilists!"), or else addressed from within modernity itself, thereby perpetuating the disease. This goes without mentioning the funny airs which I've long since sensed clinging to me since not long after arriving here. The Us and the Them of course. The Illuminati and the hoi polloi. The very same pretension to superiority via expertise which underlies the aggrandizement of governance and bureaucratic authority. You know. Two of the big problems of the age?

I count against myself the unfortunate extent to which those funny airs have sunk into my skin, and issued from my pores and hairs. It's a disorder which I need to work on correcting. There is no benefit, for instance, to audibly kvetching about an nineteen-year-old's inability to grasp the finer points of The Republic, or their grammar, when the poor bugger is simply trying to muddle through something which they've had no preparation in life for. It's nothing more than harsh speech, divisive talk; of no use and plenty of harm.

I don't find myself interested in being an expert. I don't particularly care about the Ph.D, or tenure, or a pension plan, in and of themselves. It's simply that I'd judged a university teaching career as being one of the better vehicles by which to think and act against the problems. Should that turn out not to be the case, I simply wouldn't bother, and would feel compelled to follow other paths.

But what's that all amount to, you may ask? Well, O' surprising friend, it's simply this. I feel compelled to do the things that I ought to be doing, rather than developing expertise. What was it that the old Silenus said about the wisdom of experts? Ah yes, "not too wise, not too wise"... Well, I can certainly admit to that. If nothing else though, I can apparently recognize when I'm simply making myself stupider. Isn't hubris a certain kind of stupidity? Unfortunately, we're increasingly a society of experts... of proud, stupid experts.

"But what's this 'ought to be doing' business?", you may ask, O' splendid reader? Well. Goodness only knows really. Maybe we can figure it out over a beer sometime.

"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix... What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination? ...Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Moloch! Moloch the loveless! Mental Moloch! Moloch the heavy judger of men!"
-- from Howl by Alan Ginsberg

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
triphicus
Feb. 21st, 2011 05:32 am (UTC)
Ugh, yeah, it was all the BS tied up in studying theology within academia that made me hang up my hat. I guess I could have chosen to sweat it out for five more years of boring and ridiculous historical-critical research that I would never have any use for, but with the way that the market currently looks for getting a job as a Professor, I really just decided it wouldn't be a practical decision on my part, especially since I really didn't see myself much enjoying the process that it would take to get there.

The sad thing, though, is that I still love studying theology and translating Greek and Hebrew, and doing exegesis, etc. I just cannot see myself trudging through all kinds of historical-critical nonsense(on a ridiculously low stipend income, to boot) with the hopes of it bringing me to some indeterminate (and certainly not guaranteed) point where I can actually focus on what I love, rather than what the academic norm tells me that I have to do. It is a truly sad predicament, to be sure.

But I figure that my love for academia and sorrow over my decision to walk away from it will serve as great energy source for getting my publishing house in order. I mean, the entire idea behind is sprung from my frustration in observing how little bearing the classroom and even large scale academic discussions really have in the face of real-world issues (at least when it comes to social justice).
ccord
Feb. 22nd, 2011 12:39 am (UTC)
Translating Greek is actually one of those things which I was supposed to be doing when I got here, but have been consistently distracted away from. It sometimes leaves me wishing that I'd done a second major in Classics instead of the minor, or that I could finagle my way into finishing such a major (something to look into, I suppose!).

The amusing thing is that, at Carleton, the emphasis in political philosophy is heavily weighed towards exegesis of primary sources. However, the workload makes it unfeasible to actually do so in the language of the authors themselves, unless you already have four or five years of experience in it. Which I didn't. At this point, I'm so rusty that I pretty much have to re-memorize every conjugation paradigm in the book, asides from present-indicative-active, and p-i-middle. And don't get me started on participles. :-)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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