This is a free-of-thought zone

Andrew Hamner

To make thinkers and leaders is the mantra to which we subscribe here at the Mt. Olympus of Knowledge. Untouched rock enters into the hallowed doors of the university and emerges but a few years later as a diamond, sprinkled liberally with the ethics and thought of countless generations. Glossy brochures reveal these things to all who are deemed worthy of receiving them. For those lucky souls, only one piece of advice can ever truthfully be given: be energetic in your pursuit of knowledge.

For those who recognized the archaic elements both of the phraseology and sentiment expressed above: congratulations on your pragmatism. Who in this day and age still subscribes to the notion that school is anything more than a training ground for entrance into the workforce? Anyone with dreams of getting a liberal education and using it to spend a lifetime lost in thought evidently assumes that the dream of the leisured class continues to haunt the corridors of the collective mind.

Thankfully, most of the fiction regarding thought’s intrinsic importance is recognized to be such. When little Johnny and Susie make their way into the big world of secondary education they, their parents, and their professors know full well those coming four years are an investment in the most literal sense. Money is lost with the expectation that someday relatively soon a career will come to the student that more than repays them in status and cold cash.

With the few detours into debauchery and frivolous majors shrugged off as the inevitable consequences of youthful flightiness, the ideal student will enjoy the favor of their elders throughout the collegiate years until their work is rewarded with a job. What an exciting event that is! Finally the child becomes the adult, secure in the knowledge that they leveraged what talents were most obvious into a job – otherwise known as a calling – that will provide for them until they die.

This is life, ladies and gentlemen of the soon-to-be-educated class. Are there fools who cherish the opportunity to learn and learn without any obligations? Perhaps you should learn that at career development centers, even learning carries with it an obligation. Here you and I learn not to learn, but to get hired. We learn that only our first choice of career can give us food. We learn that knowledge is infinitely inferior to practicality.