Free to Think

I’ve been wondering why Ukrainian philosophers, thinkers and pundits are so much more interesting to listen to than the Western ones. They aren’t any smarter. They don’t have significantly higher IQs. They haven’t read anything others can’t access. Why, then, does everything they say feel fresh and important?

It’s simply because they are free. They let their thoughts roam far and wide, unconstrained by political correctness, politeness, fear of wounding sensibilities, and the need to be nice, egalitarian or inclusive.

For me, it’s not even about what they say, although it’s always very fruitful. It’s the feeling of freedom, the capacity to be ironic, and the unconstrained flight of ideas that I find hypnotic.

Today, I’m going to spend 2,5 hours at a mandatory meeting where we’ll discuss our feelings about the video of police brutality in Memphis and “how we can do a better job of serving communities of color in a society dominated by institutionalized white supremacy.” It is my deeply held belief that such meetings destroy the capacity to think profoundly and freely precisely among the people whose job it is to think.


16 thoughts on “Free to Think

  1. In Saul Bellow’s ‘Humboldt’s Gift,’ the Bellow character derisively calls a literary colleague (who is also a political activist) “button-wearing.” (The activist colleague was based on Dwight MacDonald.) Whenever I see a “Question Authority” button (or T-shirt), this comes to mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “I’m going to spend 2,5 hours at a mandatory meeting where …”

    If you cannot finish this sentence with “I weaponised the meeting against the meeting runners so that we could all hijack the agenda and put them under a harsh spotlight” … SHAME.

    Not the kind of shame where you’re being made to feel guilty for something you chose to do.

    This is the kind of SHAME where you should feel regret for what you didn’t choose to do.

    SHAME. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually, it turned out quite beautiful. People boycotted the racism conversation. Everybody sat in complete silence to force the dean to talk about the budget cuts instead.

      It worked. And all we had to do was to stay silent and avoid coerced speech.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The boycott was led by the Chair of Mathematics Department. The poor guy has been put through the ringer by people who believe that when students fail calculus, that’s racism.


      1. I failed calculus. Actually, pre-calculus. I passed it the second time though.

        Still. Definitely wasn’t racism. It was just that I suck at Calculus, and I tried to take it as a condensed summer class.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. In the future, all of the maths and sciences will be taught at The Dojo.

        When the Master has you go to the board to solve a problem and you fail, you then get to fight the Master.

        You think your mastery of the martial arts and your state of zanshin doesn’t apply to your problem solving skills?

        You think that’s just air you’re breathing in after the Master kicks you in the solarplexus despite your calm mastery of inadequate problem solving?

        Now you have TWO problems to solve, grasshoppah. 🙂


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