Quote note (#123)

The sense of an ending:

As George Steiner once put it in conversation, “The humanities have had 23 good centuries — don’t get greedy or upset that it happens to be coming to an end.” Let’s no longer say, “How can we save the humanities?” Instead, let us admit, “Liberal education is over. What do we do now?”

October 28, 2014admin 16 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Discriminations


16 Responses to this entry

  • Quote note (#123) | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on October 28th, 2014 at 6:11 pm Reply | Quote
  • Stirner (@heresiologist) Says:

    The academic humanities are dead, long live the Humanities.

    Aside from the massive amount of free resources on the internet, sites like The Great Courses offers top notch canned lectures in the major branches of the Humanities. I’m sure someone is going to figure out how to combined fantastic streamed lectures, with distributed group e-learning, and put those adjuncts to work grading papers and facilitating learner discussion. Drop the prices of real Humanities classes by an order of magnitude, and there will be many takers.

    In case nobody notices, we are currently undergoing a rebirth in the art of the essay, with incredible writers coming out of the woodwork and having a mass audience with no gatekeepers. Yeah, they are called bloggers, but the best of the best are legit Essayists.

    Some future student in the humanities will indeed be making comparisons between Montaigne and Wretchard the Cat (ie Richard Fernandez). I need not belabor the point that Neoreaction itself was birthed in a spasm of fast paced blogging, and that many of the writers in the wider Dark Enlightenment are outstanding. Steve Sailer, Derbyshire, Heartiste, The Last Psychiatrist, Scott Alexander, Popehat, The War Nerd, the list goes on and on.

    Progs gush about getting the New Yorker once a month. On the alternative right, you can get the equivalent of a New Yorker every week. There is simply a wealth of riches on the right, and it seems to be growing, each and every year.


    defused Reply:

    While few writers on the topic of education are as incisive and penetrating as The Last Psychiatrist, he is decidedly not part of the Dark Enlightenment. Not even close.


    Posted on October 28th, 2014 at 6:42 pm Reply | Quote
  • Latecomer Says:

    This is just another phase, amid more and more phases. Techno-capital will accept no competitors. Next to go will be the social sciences, then the environmental sciences, and at that point things will “accelerate”. We won’t be around much longer at that point, but speculatively, if/when technological capability eclipses the knowledge bank, if/when there is an ability to manipulate/reproduce/”travel” matter in an unfathomable style, what need will the machines have then in “studying” it? Of “doing” science?


    Amon Khan Reply:


    Is this kind of thinking standard for neoreactionaries? To me it sounds like progressivism on steroids: the future will be radically unlike the past, new men and a new order are just around the corner, resistance is futile, the Singularity is near, etc. How are these concepts any less absurd or faith-based than what the progs are offering?


    pythias returns Reply:

    Agree. This kind of self-assured certainty is also incredibly top down: cookie cutter post-humanism or whatever you prefer to call it. There’s no room for the scientific study of social and technological trends since its all been ‘done’ and conclusions already drawn. To suit, I dare say, a very romantic view of the future.


    Posted on October 28th, 2014 at 9:45 pm Reply | Quote
  • defused Says:

    This is a good article, but it still misses the major point. The 9 per cent of university that is the humanities (per major not per dollar or professor) may be useless, but this merely serves the function to convince everyone that the other 91 per cent is useful. Well, barring perhaps a tiny fraction of necessary programs, the rest is useless too (they would have figured this out had they read their Baudrillard). The humanities aren’t over, ‘higher education’ is.


    Posted on October 28th, 2014 at 11:35 pm Reply | Quote
  • Aeroguy Says:

    I get the sense that people realize the need for trade schools rather than universities. So most universities are transforming into trade schools while the “elite” universities remain universities, humanities intact. Americans can’t stomach saying university is exclusively for the elite but somehow are fine with having elite universities for the elite. Meanwhile the universities are focused on desensitizing students to drudgery (because the machines demand it) while claiming to be educating them. The thing is, the masses never had any business attending university in the first place. So we have the academic institutions twisting upon themselves for not being able to admit to these sorts of truths.

    The result is an overly expensive worker drone training program that has the drones thinking they’re too special to be drones but beats enough initiative out of them for them to still be productive as drones. It’s been happening for a while now actually, I noticed a huge difference between the extensive core I had at the Academy (don’t take this as an endorsement, it’s got plenty of it’s own problems) with the comparatively anemic core of state universities (not to mention grade inflation) as well as the relatively broad core older university grads had.

    My girlfriend is smart enough to sense the hollowness of her 4.0 and feels an intense hatred for the state university system, she knows that there is a great deal she doesn’t know that she wishes she had already been taught. She’s also aware that there’s more focus on being trained to obey rather than trained how to think. I’ve given her partial information about the antiversity which she is very interested in. Presently I see much of it beginning by operating secretively online such that keeping her sex unknown would be easy but as it progresses what of the role of the female? I asked her what subjects she wanted to learn more about, she said everything, I replied “so you want to learn more about philosophy!”, to which she immediately backed off. I suspect this experience is more than anecdotal and may help address my earlier question.


    defused Reply:

    She could take solace in the fact that the education at an ‘elite’ university wouldn’t have done her any better. Isn’t ‘A’ the most commonly awarded grade at Harvard? And who teaches the courses? Adjuncts, TAs who come from similarly poor undergrad institutions, and Professors willing to slap an A on anything so long as they can neglect reading pitiful terms papers to focus on their inconsequential research. All that can be learned at a university can be learned elsewhere for cheaper for those with the initiative. You can even learn while at the university if you use your time productively; it might mean a 3.6 instead of a 4.0, but in the real world there’s no difference.


    Posted on October 28th, 2014 at 11:50 pm Reply | Quote
  • pythias returns Says:

    Its a very interesting article, as is the linked piece by Meilaender. But, Nick, I am interested to know your take on Meilaender’s urging against inter-disciplinary studies, since I thought you were very much for transgressing the boundaries of academic disciplines.


    Izak Reply:

    I thought that was the most incisive aspect of the essay — the recognition that any attempts to break down the corporatization of academia by creating interdisciplinary studies always result in totally muddled nonsense.

    This basic premise, before I ever heard anyone else say it, has also led me to completely reject the central claims of books like Consilience by EO Wilson.


    Izak Reply:

    (also I realize I’m not the addressee of the question, but I didn’t really know where else to post this minor comment)


    Aeroguy Reply:

    Isn’t NRx itself basically an informal interdisciplinary studies program?


    Posted on October 29th, 2014 at 2:52 am Reply | Quote
  • pythias returns Says:

    More from Meilaender:

    “Organic life, having done its work in producing mind, is no longer needed”:



    admin Reply:

    Thanks. I’m not at all familiar with this stuff — it will take me a little while to get up to speed.


    Posted on October 29th, 2014 at 2:54 am Reply | Quote
  • vxxc2014 Says:

    Burn. Burn them.

    It’s their turn and well deserved from standpoints of reciprocity and survival.


    Posted on October 29th, 2014 at 10:22 pm Reply | Quote

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