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The following Question was asked by Tood as a reply to the article: “Academic Education – A Waste of Space, Mind, Money and Time?”in my column on The Sociology Journal
Do you not think that your call to action in creating an imagined world of equality is also a product of one of these theories of university education which you denigrate in your article? Before action can be taken toward any goal, what is required is a thorough analysis of the situation at hand. This will require thinking, not acting. After this task is complete (and it is not), you must subsequently be able to define the goal toward which you would like to steer society as well as to justify that goal as a proper goal. Given that your goal seems to be equality for all, in all aspects, the next step would be to formulate a process of transition from the current situation to the desired one– a plan of action. This will require an immense amount of interpretation, theory, data-gathering, statistical analysis, historical considerations, etc. (e.g. consider Karl Marx’s more than 3000 page collection of volumes known as Das Kapital). Before beginning work toward global equality, we ought to consider its feasibility, desirability, and complications it may bring– questions which, by the way, are being asked and answered inside the University (consider, for example, the work of analytic marxists such as G.A. Cohen in “Self-ownership, Freedom. and Equality”). I agree with you that the University has a socializing function, and that success in the university is at least contingent upon learning the language-games of academia, however it also functions to open up a space for the dedication of oneself to inquiry– a space which is not generally provided outside of the University. And as a final consideration: when is success outside of the University going to be devoid of the socializing function of the University, or of its criterion of “learning the lingo”, apart from living a hermitic life?
A – My reply:
Hi Tood – When I (and when most people) were a young child, my basic outlook on the world situation was that of: “Why are people starving, when there is enough food?” – “War is stupid, why can’t we simply be friends?”
Thus my perspective was that of Simplicity and Common Sense – without moral judgments towards those creating wars: I saw the World and the people within it, as Equal. Therefore the call to action – based on the basic Principle of Equality is not an ideological conception constructed in the Academic class- room.
Unfortunately we have as adults, covered and sugar-coated ourselves in fancy words and knowledge to hide from ourselves within ignorance and abdication of Self-Responsibility – which Actually for any Child, is Common Sense. Thus – we will back up Self-Deception with Self-Righteous regurgitation of useless knowledge simply to postpone the Moment, where we literally have to ACT – where we Actually have to Give up this armor of theories upon theories and see the World and Ourselves for what it is.
It is plain to see, even within the theories of Social Life: Common Sense Perspectives that All can agree on is being reproduced, mutated an twisted into oblivion, even though they always say the same: That to Change the World, we require to Change Ourselves first – because whatever We are, is what the World is too. I have heard professors regurgitating the glory of knowledge and thinking as enlightenment and cure to the disease of ignorance and inequality. Yet – we see none of those professors or students Changing anything in their own Participation. Instead the regurgitation of knowledge is used as the justification for NOT ACTING and thus being reproduced and recycled with every new batch of students in hope of Changing the World.
We do not require anymore “thorough analysis as thinking” of the issues at hand – The sustainable solutions to the World’s problems ARE invented – we are simply not Applying them. If every Child can see the Common Sense of war being stupid and not even blaming those that create war, but simply suggests for us to stop it – it is clearly not assisting to create long theories upon the impracticality of War. It is basic Common Sense: 1 + 1 = 2.
If the 1 eats all the food, the other 1 will starve and the 2 will exist in inequality – which is Clearly not what is Best for All. This requires not Socratic or dogmatic systems of approach – It does however require Self-Honesty of each of us as re-educating ourselves to take Self-Responsibility for what is Here.
The plan of action towards Global Equality is to create a Global Political Party based upon the Principle of Equality, where each commits themselves to Stand Self-Responsible in Common Sense Equality and do what is Best for All – at a Practical, Physical level – in All ways.
This we are doing with the proposal of the Equal Money System, which of course requires thorough planning – but within the Principle of Equality as what is Best for All, no ideological discussions are necessary, which will give us room to investigate and research Practical, Real Life Solutions.
Even though the tradition of the universities place themselves within the “honor” of the objective inquiry (aka truth producing business) – this is in Fact not so and the Space of universities as learning facilities could be utilized for so much more fruitful and practical purposes – not simply to reproduce knowledge for it to be reproduced. Activism without Practicality as well as knowledge without Application, is useless…
Participate – Become an Practivist – An Activist Practicing Common Sense and Self-Responsibility