Please read the following if you too have noticed that things have become sort of Kafkaesque...
I will begin with by asking this honest question: When did education begin to encompass only the prospect of getting a job?
Be aware that you may find the following unpleasant or even distasteful due to my outrage as a student in the humanities:
After many years in the institution that we refer to as the University, where supposedly teaching (and notice how this comes first, please!) and research is conducted, I have realized to my utter disappointment, that we are not taught nor trained to use our imagination actively as such.
As an example of what I’m trying to articulate and carve out in quicksand, I will give you my
idea of what a university degree ought to accomplish for every single student in the humanities (along with many other as pivotal experiences/competences):
To be able to imagine a just world.
Now, you are probably thinking, I’m assuming here, that I’m naïve and sound kind of ‘banal’ perhaps, perhaps not. I’m hoping for the latter.
The three words are slowly drowning in the signifying economies: imagine, just, and world.
I hereby invoke (from the dead) these words to make my concerns visible to my implied audience in order to share these anxieties I have, so that a dialogue can emerge however fragmented and non-consensual.
Let me adamantly establish that getting a job (if feasible) is not a horrific thing, far from it, but being produced merely into fulfilling the demands of the market sounds to me like capitalism - the villain - infiltrating our ‘core values’ (a contested phrase nowadays, indeed).
And oh no, I’ve said it now; no turning back. Maybe I’ve lost some readers if I had any to begin with because this topic is worn out – skinned to the bone where I only see ruins and relics as remains.
This imagery is, according to myself, applicable to the humanities, liberal arts, ‘soft’ sciences and these are also the empty signifiers that the future generations will find in digital archives in a bleak, post-apocalyptic world and they will probably unconsciously condemn us by thinking: you’ve sold out, pal.
To follow up on my use of extremely odd, postmortem metaphors, I will ask where do we locate the ethical, if students are not able to read, nor understand such abstract yet essential concepts? Have we been denied such ability? Are we the victims? Are we potential agents? You tell me.
It has been, in other words, erased from our conceptual framework or to put it in a slightly jollier tone: we suffer from an impaired cognitive function caused by the mantra to ‘generate profit’ at all times and at all stakes.
If I have offended someone with my tone, well: my apologies.
Allegedly, the various standardized Curricula for the myriad disciplines set the rules for what we are supposed to acquire of skills throughout the merry days in the institution such as ‘critical skills’ and ‘reflexivity’ among many other trendy buzzwords (‘innovation’ and ‘cross-disciplinary’ deserve to be mentioned too).
Those tunes sound swell in market-capital domains, don’t they? Now just imagine the following utopian idea: us being critical of the structures that deny us the epistemological and ethical objectives.
My fellow students: Don’t fear disavowal nor ostracism.
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