The “Real” University of Chicago

Every year that I’ve been at the UofC we get these lame letters asking us to relate our life and experience at the University to donors or prospective students. I don’t ever participate, as I’m sure that my statements would be heavily censored. Institutionalized education is a big racket; that’s true everywhere – its just more miserable here. If life is misery, then they do well to prepare you at the UofC. If you think you may want something else, go somewhere else.

Rant aside, if you’d like to see the real misery, boredom, hopelessness, and outlets that the University of Chicago provides its students… I advise you to look here:

It’s a great set of real graffiti from the university. By the looks of it – completely uncensored. It’s probably not very reassuring, but it’s closer to truth than the propaganda the admissions department puts out.

Hey, but look on the bright side… you’ll be a well paid worker-bee when you’re all done with your time in hell.

I stumbled on this other site that has a real and current discussion of the UofC as an educational option. It may be useful for some of some of you parents weighing in on your child’s university education:

post graduation, and the roads less traveled

I’m not sure that it is very reassuring as an indication of career prospects, but that depends greatly on perspective. What I am sure of is that it raises some very important questions. Read:

it’s worth the time, in my opinion.

Specifically, I think that the Subject hits a few ideas right on the head. Most importantly, to me:

“Too often,” he declares, “the defenders of free markets forget that what we really want is free men.”

and, following close behind:

Rejecting the false dichotomy between thinking and doing …

I’ve got another six months of institutionalized education, and then it’s off to the “real world”. That fact has me thinking about what I want to do, where I want to go, what kind of a person I should struggle to be. (I’m convinced that in a capitalistic system “being” is a struggle.) A mode of thinking that’s always been useful for me before is to look at what isn’t or shouldn’t be – and those thoughts leave me rejecting the corporate rat race. Sure, the money is nice – but the time stolen is irreplaceable. The exploitation is insulting and the alienation nauseating. I’m with Marx on at least one idea, alienation is not good: I want to have a connection with what I make. And I do want to make things. Those things don’t necessarily have to be tangible, but they ought to be perceptible.

There’s something about being a cog that just upsets my very being. The quote on “free men” speaks to me loudly and clearly. It’s hard for me to believe that the idea could ever be received with dismissal. Which leaves me wondering if it ever is, or if the more pressing demands of life (hunger, shelter, etc.) simply push the more philosophical and principal-based ‘necessities’ clear out of the picture.

To what extent must rigorous thought, freedom, and “success” be opposed? Clearly, there are some of us out there who simply reject the existence of the opposition as an insurmountable obstacle, but why is that so rare? (Why does the story usually go like: pick two.)

Food for thought… (foreshadowing my future, albeit in an externally-inaccessible way.)

Strange Results of Deductive Logic

So, I’m back in Chicago. Back in classes. Spanish is going well and Logic is quite fun. I was just sitting around thinking about the strange interpretation of if… then statements. In logic, they’re only ever false if the “if” part is true and the “then” part is false. For instance – imagine taking a business to court because they won’t refund your money despite the fact that they sold you inferior products and have the slogan :

If it’s the best in its class – then you bought it here and it comes with a 100% money-back guarantee!

Well, it turns out that, strictly speaking, they haven’t made their statement false by refusing to give you your money back. The antecedent is false – or so the assumption goes – so regardless of how the consequent turns out, the statement is logically true. Odd, you think…me too. I’m more in favor of pegging such statements as “maybe” or “unknown” statements. I’m not sure if I’ll be given that option this quarter.

It’s cold here. 37° F now. Rainy too. I’ll write more later.