On University of Chicago’s Biggest Lesson

I’ve long joked with my friends that the most valuable skill one can take away from a University of Chicago education is the ability to genuinely forget everything one learned during the course of that education.

I learned today that intelligence is alienating, that criticism and critical thinking is the surest way to lose friends, that it acts as a prophylactic measure against developing friendships and relationships. I learned that I am fortunate to have the opportunity to attend a college as glorious, prestigious, and engaging as the University of Chicago, and that I will be spending much of my life with individuals who went to schools without the small group discussions, punctilious focus on writing and argumentative articulation, and peer-to-peer collaboration so celebrated at U of C. Rather, I will spend much time with the blessed majority who spent their college days in lecture halls, assiduously taking notes, knowing them cold, passing tests and writing papers. And drinking heavily on weekends.

I call this group the “blessed majority” in complete honesty, un-ironically. With any luck, they’ve gone through schooling with their world largely intact. Whatever stories students told themselves about what their worlds are remain true. They have not been exposed as fiction, because the blessed have not been forced to confront these personal fairy tales. Continue reading “On University of Chicago’s Biggest Lesson”

JDR Makes a Film – Storm’s Wake

The University of Chicago cancelled classes today and tomorrow due to inclement weather. Naturally, I decided to take a hike around Hyde Park and the campus, as well as wander out to Promontory Point. With me I brought my iPhone, on which I recorded some video using the 8mm application. It’s responsible for the nice film-like effects.

As these are easy and relatively quick to make, It’s my intention to record and produce more of these.

I wrote the text, shot the video, and edited it. In case anybody is interested, the song I used is “Havelock” by Goldmund, off the album “Famous Places”. The album is awesome, for the record, as is Goldmund’s alter ego Helios–also known as Keith Kenniff.

A Quick Thought On Awesome

I want to find something awesome, you know, in the 19th century sense of the word ‘Awesome’. I’ve never really sat in awe of anything before. In finding what I find awesome, I will find what I want to do with my life.

I had a phone conversation with a friend of mine, Ted Gonder, about the end of autumn quarter, the inexcusable humanitarian atrocities perpetrated against students during finals week by the University of Chicago, and our plans for the Christmas holiday. Somewhere in there, conversation drifted to one of those very collegiate “what do you want to do when you grow up?” kind of exchanges. I am to a certain extent envious of Ted, because he knows, or at least has a ballpark estimate, of what he wants to do.

I don’t. I’m interested in approximately fifty bajillion things, ranging from 19th-20th century British and American history, astrophysics, cosmology, American literature old and new, psychology and cognition, and, for good measure, some finance, entrepreneurship, and not-for-profit work (because I like to pretend I’m a good person every once in awhile). I came to the following realization:

“I want to find something awesome, you know, in the 19th century, romantic sense of the word ‘Awesome’. I’ve never really sat in awe of anything before.  In finding what I find awesome, I will find what I want to do with my life.”

Unfortunately, for me, for now, I am not easily impressed by much. That will have to change.

A longer post, along The Halcyon Days’s vein of early summertime college apathy, is in the works.