Sunday, July 28, 2013
Exquisite and powerful orgasm of knowledge
Capitalism is a lot like mining. The deeper into the mine we dig, the bigger the inevitable collapse will be. The oxygen supply dwindles and poison gases begin to fill our lungs. The privatization of our public universities is one of the poison gases. The reduction of both state and federal funding is another. Skyrocketing tuition costs follows and the piecemeal sell off our once not for profit sanctuaries of knowledge change into an online classroom where it becomes difficult to really feel the "college experience". Fight songs turn into thirty second jingles and the transfer of wealth from top to bottom from anyone willing to acquire a degree commences.
Many consider this privatization a path towards greater competition that will allow the very best of universities to obtain the best students, faculty and prestige. That is horse manure. If we look at corporations like the university of Phoenix, Devry, ITT, and all of the other "schools" we will see highly profitable business, that pay their facilities lower end wages and offer the minimum of our beloved college experience. What you will also see is a transfer of public funds directly into private pockets. Plato was clairvoyant when he wrote “Excess of liberty, whether it lies in state or individuals, seems only to pass into excess of slavery.” if he was thinking of the burgeoning for profit university system.
I wonder if my opining of the so-called college experience is the sentimentality of a soon to be middle aged man ogling the past? I have always had a fondness of retrospection. I can admit my college experience was drug filled and often degenerative but that time was enlightening. The in class debates, passionate discourse and the time to spend reading books, not just texts books but the monoliths that define the 20th and 21st centuries were the kindling of an examined life. My degree is useless, my ability to argue without committing fallacies, has been a boon on my employment "opportunities". I am tens of thousands of dollars in debt and in all honesty the most useful thing I learned during my college experience was how to stretch a twenty dollar per week food budget far enough without ever skipping meals. (You got to try my black beans and rice, epic they are)
The university system is not the canary in the mine. Critical thought, the ability to agree to disagree the want to reach out to new ideas, taking four (in my case 8) years to find yourself, the willingness to hump through each mind fuck to exquisite and powerful orgasm of knowledge are the canaries in the mine.
What do we do about? If your thinking about signing that online petition smack yourself in the face. If you thought to engage everyone you hear babbling nonsense with the Socratic dialogue to draw them out without pretension or defensive posture to create a synthesis of fleeting ignorance and impregnated thought you're onto something. Engaging in respectful civil discourse (visual the opposite of what they do on those hyperbolic cable news shows with the talking head political pulp pushers.) is the only answer I have short of going lynch mob on the financial institutions, our state, federal governments , and the people who rob the body politic. Engage in civil discourse and then let's flood the halls every place that tells us we are entitled only to shut up.
Par for the course I have no good or new answers. What do we do about this considering our aging population is going to need far more medical care than discussions of Nietzsche? The university system is experiencing diminishing returns on the cost benefit ratio of degrees equaling those ever so coveted middle class jobs. Is that all we went to college for the assurance of revenue? I suppose so. Maybe it's time we enjoy our experiences and learn from them instead of looking for endless ways to make money?