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What is the Actual Best Post?

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
As somebody who grew up in a conservative family and actually bought the GOP's crappy "if we allow same sex marriage people will want polygamy and bestiality next" argument for at least 24 hours in college, that post seems about right.


BB (10) > 3^^^3
Time to provide a "best" post in response to that.

In studying both liberal arts and STEM at "prestigious" universities, I've learned that while lib-arts professors do not indoctrinate anyone as in the pulpy musings of Orwell etc. (I agree with Exposition Owl that natural "inertia" prevents this, although I would call this resistance healthy and the only true source of a pluralistic society, rather than anything else), they will certainly reward students that confirm their respective will and worldview, or punish those that utterly reject it due to "irreconcilable differences"; and that this is much less relevant in STEM, intrinsically -- you can imagine why.

There is at least one professor at my polytechnic university who is most probably left-leaning and environmentalist, but has mentioned his support of geomancy, spiritism and the Anastasia movement during lectures -- a movement which you've never heard of until now. I don't think he's met with much success, but that's besides the point. Incidentally, the one lecturer that I think was socialist was a kind-hearted Chilean who never spoke of politics (there's only one clue I picked up that seems rather definitive; I think it's best to avoid details), just to dispel the boogeyman of all left-leaning professors using university as a training camp, which is likewise absurd.

Obviously, if you believe that most things cannot be fruitfully discussed, and not every good judgment acquired -- if, in other words, you reject "dialectics" both in the Socratic and Hegelian senses -- you are already at a disadvantage in liberal arts (not so in STEM... or if you are an actual artist, which is where the qualities resulting in such beliefs also seem to help). I vividly remember getting insight* into an Abitur assignment which asked the student to judge an excerpt of Nabokov writing about Kafka in Lectures on Literature (compiled from his academic lectures at Cornell U). The "grading key" given to the teachers dourly pointed out that anything but a "nuanced evaluation" rejecting Nabokov's views, i.e. the student eagerly listing the banalities about how Kafka's writing is full of "father figures" and "religious allusions", how it "predicted" totalitarian bureaucracy and industrialized dehumanization (as if neither had yet been invented in his lifetime), "if only more people had read him earlier!", should get the student docked points. I should note here that Nabokov wrote a lot against totalitarianism and industrialized dehumanization which he knew from the country he had to flee, and another country that he settled down in (Cloud, Castle, Lake was published in Berlin, 1937)

Thus, the federal subject's Ministry of Education demanded that the young adult student support a "centrist" and perhaps artistically infertile stance on an issue he/she probably doesn't understand as well as V. V. Nabokov some 50 years into his life. Of course, I can't imagine that any sane teacher ever followed a "grading key" to the letter (again: healthy resistance), and I remember getting away with derisively slamming Gerhart Hauptmann and "realism" in a similar exam and scoring A* (or German equivalent) -- but if it was followed anywhere, then this foregone decision on what a nominally open discussion should produce is nothing, if not indoctrination. Or the jealousy of lesser writers and critics, weaponized in such a way that they do not have to acknowledge it as jealousy, or a weapon. (Schönberg wrote likewise about teachers in his Harmonielehre -- which did not make his own teaching style, in that book, less intellectually rigorous, or less demanding, but he always pointed out the value of questioning any "basic laws" that seemed to present themselves as context-free, and the value of deeper study and the obstinate detail contradicting, thus refining the rule.)

And I imagine that the writing "style" and its unspoken directives and philosophical foundation that I'm using right here, right now, was, if not ingrained, then at least encouraged by this entire rotten system in my years of greatest ignorance and malleability; and I'm not particularly fond of it.

In brief: I believe that "academic" education is shit, and not at all "peaceful" (perhaps Nabokov is apt to quote here: "to build an ivory tower, one must first kill a few elephants"), not at all a respite from the supposed or real terrors of corporate economy. I've heard agreement from not a few and quite "diverse" professors (again, both in STEM and lib arts, and with all kinds of "cultural backgrounds"-- though I'm not as sure about the diversity of their philosophies, which would matter far more) when I brought this up to them. There is a bias marring this lesson, of course, because these were the professors I dared mention my dissatisfaction to in the first place.

In any case, many people I look up to, if they ever studied or taught at university -- whether I really knew them, or had to settle for biographies -- seem to have gone on record with the same, and nearly no-one with the opposite, so I assume it's not solely attributable to "Bologna" (what a heinous misappropriation of the great legacy of the Middle Ages). I wonder why that is. But no, not really.

(Since a reader might tacitly chalk this up to my supposed failure at performing at university: I promise it''s not that; by grades, I've been "pretty good" at school and university. This means nothing right now; I expect that it will mean the world soon -- and shortly thereafter, it will mean nothing again for the rest of my life. In other words, even the effects of university indoctrination by grades on the workforce are somewhat dubious.)

* They might well have been publicly accessible. I've long since forgotten.


Could be a fren
I've never been to college, but my impression from talking to anyone who's taken a serious round of liberal arts courses is that the most revered professors are the ones that grade you mainly on how well you support your argument, rather than on you arriving at a predestined conclusion.

Usually it turns out that talking points from Fox News and Megachurch preachers are much more difficult to support satisfactorily, though I can't imagine why.


My experience is that college professors run the absolute gamut on levels of both professionalism and temperament, being human beings and all