The purposes of a university are to pass on knowledge and to provide a refuge in which to conduct scholarship. That’s it, and nothing more.
Nowadays scholarship is called “research”, the former word sounding staid and unfruitful. The problem is the latter word boisterous and is only too fruitful. More and more “research” is produced, the pace always increasing. Unread journals warehousing this research litters libraries. Much research is harmful, and the expected pace of it guarantees that a lot of it will be false. Worth is judged by quantity over quality, because money.
Knowledge is, we need to remind ourselves, our perception of true things. You can go to a TV station or corporate seminar and have propaganda passed on to you. Or to any Studies course, or any college course that has become woke—or infatuated with research. Propaganda is a mixture of truths, exaggerations, and purposeful lies of commission and omission.
Knowledge is also that which relates to our lives of the mind. Practical truths, like how to use a spoke shave or dig a well or design an internal combustion engine, are surely forms of knowledge, but one should not go to university to study these. One becomes (or should become) an apprentice, because these are all truths having to do with actions of the body. Actions of the mind is scholarship. Students are also, or should be, apprentices. But working for a different end.
This restriction to passing on knowledge to bolster lives on the mind is why university should be an undertaking only for a few, only those able to endure scholarship. Right now, about two out of three kids go to college. It should be one in twenty or thirty, maybe fewer.
If one’s goal is only “research” or to learn some other practice skill, universities are not needed, and indeed cause active harm. How much benefit over harm depends on how seeped in politics the subject is and how much distraction from the skill is mandated.
Most kids go to university to earn a “degree”, a certification showing they are worthy for work, the skills of which they will learn, not at university, but at the job. In other words, university is a filter for certain apprenticeships. What a needless waste of time and resources!
But those employers who require a “degree” are somewhat restrained because of the need for Diversity quotas, and to prove they are not “discriminating”. Which of course they are, because otherwise they would not require the “degree”. Employers are thus working off the loose, and increasingly looser, correlation that the worst possible apprentices don’t have “degrees”. As soon as all kids go to college, the correlation drops to zero. Employers would then, to get around Diversity, have to up or change their requirement. Perhaps by insisting on “masters degrees”.
You see, of course, that to require of a degree because Diversity also ensures universities increase the ratio of propaganda to knowledge. And why corporations become woker and woker over time, as their ranks are filled with the unable. It is a vicious negative feedback.
Which can only be ended by some tumult.
Higher education had a cluster of related purposes in society. Everyone benefited from the new knowledge it developed and the well-informed, thoughtful citizenry it produced. Individual students benefited from the preparation they received for careers in a developed economy. Yet these days, academia has decided that its primary purpose is the promotion of a radical political ideology, to which it gives the sunny label “social justice.”
Strangely, the gentleman did not remark on the main purpose of the university, which is not to create “new knowledge”, but to pass on the old knowledge. The research bug bites us all.
Anyway, we can’t but agree with this: “When academia’s astonishing message to society is, ‘We’ll take your money, but we’ll do with it what we want, not what you want,’ the response ought to be simple: ‘No you won’t.'”
It won’t be, though. None of us are naive to think we can stem the flow of money into STEM, and to universities in general. Yes, the coming demographic crunch will slice the arteries of some institutions, but the remaining will continue in the same vein (happening now, though this whiny person thinks universities are for jobs training, which is what high school was supposed to be).
Our only hope is to create our own. I still like my network of independent scholars idea.
Meanwhile, let us end with these two terrific threads. Which are must reading.
OK you ask for it, you get it.
This will be Academia is Stupid Part I: Research
Almost all humanities & social sciences research in the Anglophone world happens at an extremely elementary level, and is to a large degree repetitive, unoriginal, or wrong. https://t.co/XT80Bpm8c5
— eugyppius (@eugyppius1) April 19, 2021
Academia is Stupid Part II: Institootions
Since at least 1990s, Anglophone Unis, together with learned societies etc, have been eaten alive by a leftist cultural & intellectual cancer, such that they no longer serve any purpose beyond that of political indoctrination. https://t.co/7gWM3OHvnQ
— eugyppius (@eugyppius1) April 21, 2021
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