Pins and Needles

Is anybody else here on pins and needles waiting for the new Cormoran Strike to drop tonight?

I hope it’s a million pages long because this has been a long wait.

Timely Teaching

And by the way, I talked about the dangers of believing that “everybody has their own truth” in my Cervantes class today. I also talked about how every totalitarian regime requires people sincerely to believe something that is patently and obviously untrue. And many people welcome it.

The issue of what happens when you try to force people to “validate” your “inner truth” is at the core of Don Quijote. And answer is: nothing good. There’s only one truth. Whatever you feel isn’t “your own truth.” It’s simply what you feel.

Be Your Age

I have no interest in the student loan forgiveness issue. I don’t have any, I never had any, my husband never had any, nobody in my family ever had any.

But when people say things like “well, universities will just raise tuition,” I writhe in vicarious shame in regards to the extraordinary childishness of such pronouncements. It’s OK not to know how things work. But then it’s a good idea not to go around opining on things of which you have no knowledge.

I have witnessed an effort to “just raise tuition” where I work that’s been going on for close to 15 years. We have fired everybody we could. We have stopped buying paper and toner. We have stripped every facility bare. We have stopped subscribing to academic journals. We even canned our subscription to the OED. But we have not been able to raise tuition. The state has dramatically reduced our funding many times over. And none of this has helped to “just raise tuition.”

Among all the remedies to our situation, nobody is even suggesting raising tuition any more because it’s on par with hoping to win the lottery. It’s not happening. We will dismantle every building brick by brick bit we will not raise tuition. We have increased cash handouts to students from 3 to 27 million per year in the past 20 years. Forget “just raising tuition,” it’s impossible to get this sum reduced to something reasonable.

It’s s very sore point right now. I’m happy for people whose debt will be reduced but this will do absolutely nothing for my university and its endless budget crisis.

Original Sin

In Genesis 3:5, the serpent tells Eve “when you eat from [the tree of knowledge] your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Why is it the original sin to know good and evil? Because when we accept that there’s no objective truth and that everybody can decide what their “own truth is,” all kinds of really bad shit begin to happen. When everybody becomes their own little god and tries to bend reality to their own whim, this never ends well for anybody. Because objective reality does exist and it’s very unkind to human delusions of grandeur.

The postmodern mentality that there’s no objective truth, just individual truths that have to be equally respected is a philosophical and practical dead-end. Humanity has known this for at least 5,000 years but then unfortunately started to forget this important fact.

All of the above is a quote from Arestovich’s seminar on the foundations of philosophical thinking. Ukraine suffered enormously because of the world’s embrace of the idea that “everybody’s truth is equally valid” and “whatever you feel is the truth”, so now Ukrainian thinkers are at the forefront of explaining why this mentality is stupid. Thankfully, in Ukraine there’s no stigma on quoting the Bible in intellectual debates, so nobody has to pretend that these ideas are new and have to be defended as some sort of a weird, newfangled quirk.