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Lecture 17: Some Thoughts on Education

Lecture 17: Some Thoughts on Education



Seventeenth lecture for my students in English 165EW, "Life After the End of the World," winter 2013 at UC Santa Barbara. ...

Seventeenth lecture for my students in English 165EW, "Life After the End of the World," winter 2013 at UC Santa Barbara.

Course website: http://patrickbrianmooney.nfshost.com/~patrick/ta/w13/



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    Lecture 17: Some Thoughts on Education Lecture 17: Some Thoughts on Education Presentation Transcript

    • Lecture 17: Some Thoughts on Education English 165EW Winter 2013 11 March 2013“‘Beauty and truth, Kinch,’ the Coogan says.‘Beauty and truth. All the rest is bumper stickers.’” — James Hynes, The Lecturer’s Tale (146)
    • “[H]ere I do but say that there are two ways ofusing Knowledge, and in matter of fact thosewho use it one way are not likely to use it in theother, or at least in a very limited measure. Yousee, then, here are two methods of Education,the end of one is to be philosophical, of the otherto be mechanical; the one rises toward generalideas, the other is exhausted upon what isparticular and external.” (John Henry, CardinalNewman, The Idea of a University, discourse 5)“[S]ome great men […] insist that Educationshould be confined to some particular andnarrow end, and should issue in some definitework, which can be weighed and measure.”(Newman, discourse 7)
    • Jimmy’s education“If Jimmy had been from a Module school, or –better – from one of those dump bins they stillcalled ‘the public system,’ he’d have shone like adiamond in a drain. But the Compound schoolswere awash in brilliant genes, none of which he’dinherited from his geeky, kak-hearted parents, sohis talents shrank by comparison. Nor had he beengiven any extra points for being funny.” (172; ch. 8)“Our Students Graduate With Employable Skills,ran the motto underneath the original Latin motto,which was Ars Longa Vita Brevis.” (188; ch. 8)
    • “Jimmy had few illusions. He knew what sort of thingwould be open to him when he came out the other endof Problematics with his risible degree. Window-dressing was what he’d be doing at best – decoratingthe cold, hard, numerical real world in flossy 2-Dverbiage. Depending on how well he did in hisProblematics courses – Applied Logic, Applied Rhetoric,Medical Ethics and Terminology, Applied Semantics,Relativistics and Advanced Mischaracterization,Comparative Cultural Psychology, and the rest – he’dhave a choice between well-paid window-dressing or abig Corp or flimsy cut-rate stuff for a borderline one.”(188; ch. 8)“The system had filed him among the rejects, and whathe was studying was considered – at the decision-making levels, the levels of real power – an archaicwaste of time.” (195; ch. 8)
    • “So a lot of what went on at Martha Graham waslike studying Latin, or book-binding: pleasant tocontemplate in its way, but no longer central toanything, though every once in a while thecollege president would subject them to someyawner about the vital arts and their irresistiblereserved seat in the big-red-velvet amphitheatreof the beating human heart.” (187; ch. 8)“Jimmy found the place depressing, as did – itseemed – everyone there with any more neuralcapacity than a tulip. But this was the hand lifehad dealt him, as his dad had said during theirawkward goodbye, and now Jimmy would justhave to play it as well as he could.” (186; ch. 8)
    • Crake’s education“Watson-Crick was known to the studentsthere as Asperger’s U because of the highpercentage of brilliant weirdos that strolled andhopped and lurched through its corridors.Demi-autistic, genetically speaking; single-track tunnel-vision minds, a marked degree ofsocial ineptitude.” (193; ch. 8)“But Crake never answered that one. This washis way: when there was a question he didn’twant to address, he acted as if it hadn’t beenasked.” (194; ch. 8)
    • Watson-Crick was a fridge-magnet culture:people bought them, traded them, made theirown. No Brain, No Pain (with a green hologram of a brain). Siliconsciousness. I wander from Space to Space. Wanna Meet a Meat machine? Take Your Time, Leave Mine Alone. Little spoat/gider, who made thee? Life experiments like a rakunk at play. I think, therefore I spam. The proper study of Mankind is Everything. (209; ch. 8)
    • A Parting Thought … “What people want is perfection,” said theman. “In themselves.” “But they need the steps to it to be pointedout,” said the woman. “In simple order,” said the man. “With encouragement,” said the woman. “Anda positive attitude.” “They like to hear about the before and theafter,” said the man. “It’s the art of the possible.But with no guarantees, of course.” (246; ch. 10)