The Ivory Tower is crumbling, and it pains me to admit it. It was a slow realization, one that began in a Classics course. At that same time I was in an archery class and the day we had to string a longbow was the day we read the bow stringing scene at the end of the Odyssey, when Odysseus comes home and challenges his wife’s suitors to string his famous bow. I’d read it before, but I’d never understood the significance of that scene until I had to actually get my hands on a bow and do it. When I saw my bloody fingers I realized—this is how you teach. You get up and walk away from the desk and bring those dead letters to life! I practiced this myself over the next few years and then submitted a proposal to my dean to get the untried students out of their desks and into the world; I was co-teaching a class on Olympic Religions and I wanted to actually do some of the sports involved. I was denied immediately and with a dismissive laugh. Insurance was the reason. Incidentally, I did my presentation on the marathon and ran a marathon myself to the utter disbelief of students and professor alike.
Have we become such weaklings, such sniveling cowards? Did the Olympic gods ask for insurance, or did they want blood? I gave them blood in that race and I will never forget the significance. Nothing, absolutely nothing, heard or read will outweigh something experienced. Nothing.
The Ivory Tower no longer provides experience. It houses dead letters on flat paper. Anyone with enough money or high enough test scores can enter its gates; the standards being lowered, of course, to meet the demands of diversity. The quality of the students fails to matter when the professors merely parrot whatever doesn’t get them fired. And their precious research?
Most academic publications exist solely to entertain the professors’ colleagues and that doesn’t seem to be a problem, but woe unto the intrepid voice that speaks to those outside the university’s hallowed walls or actually tries to change something within. Anathema!
True academic intellectualism died somewhere in the middle of the twentieth century; it’s rotting in a ditch beside the American Dream. Sadly, it was a few decades before we even realized they were missing.
The bottom line is this: Our educators can no longer be trusted. They will not sharpen your mind; do it yourself. He who was once a champion of the freethinker, now forges their chains. Break them. That orator standing in front of the board may have traded his wolf skins for a tweed jacket with suede elbow patches, but you don’t have to. If he assigns one text by Camus, read them all. If he tells you not to write so creatively, write a novel. If he tells you to let the department guide your research, cling to your mission with ferocity. Do it your way, inside or outside of that crumbling tower. Wherever your path takes you, stay on it. Walk with abandon, be the brazen voice they whisper about in their hallowed halls.
We needn’t care for the opinions of our universities for they are no longer citadels of free thinking and revolutionary ideas, but instead places where our best and brightest pay to become programmed links in worldwide chains of technological slavery. The average graduate is just another part of the system, a system that cares not one damn bit for individuals but praises and rewards the collective mentality. These are the places that train our elites and—thanks to intellectual movements infused with cultural Marxism—journalists, lawyers, and economists are churned out on graduation day like assembly line robots ready to engineer society according to their embedded programs.
Go there. Take what you need from that crumbling tower and get out before it collapses. As the dust settles behind you, smile and walk on.