“Dude, we need to get drunk this weekend,” I overheard one individual, undoubtedly known as Chad, remark to his acquaintance, whom I suspected to be Brad. Immediately the brilliance of the two parties dawned upon me, as this aphorism was obviously nothing other than a microcosm for the individual’s desire for respite from the constant cogitation that results from the atmosphere of intellectual and thought-provoking conversation, not any desire for fleeting gratification from pointless inebriation. And last week when my peer was cold-called in lecture and aptly responded, “What the hell, why me?,” it was not from lack of preparation, ambition, or a general inability to contribute relevant content, but rather from sheer reverence for the other illustrious minds within the room. And it is this sort of prevalent doublespeak that consistently masks the intellectual conversation transversing campus. Realizing that my column has constantly had a critical spirit, I’ve decided to revoke my previous tone and praise this thriving and wonderful aspect of our community at large here. Certainly words fail to express my degree of awe and amazement regarding the archetypal academics surrounding me, just as words must fail to express their true learnedness as they often opt for silence and simplicity. While, surely, there are a few individuals squandering their time in weighty subjects and academia, clearly the majority of us here have already answered all of life’s profound questions, and surmounted its elementary challenges. Perhaps excess eccentricity resides within me, but the anecdotes of my experience here portray only the reality above.
One of these most awe-inspiring facets of life here is the depth of knowledge within all individuals, and how almost none of it is surface level conjecture. My peers continually amaze me with just how much information and knowledge they amassed from skimming over one Daily Mail video they watched for 30 seconds on Twitter—their newfound ability to opine on everything and anything based on those concrete findings is astounding. Rationally, you would think that to hold views one would need sufficient research and rumination, but here, people are able to derive substantial findings and opinions just from the title of clickbait articles on Facebook. And why should we even read Hayek’s Road to Serfdom when MarxLover1996’s Youtube clips already explained to you that Hayek was delusional and frankly wrong about everything? Certainly if there ever was a lack of discourse here on campus, it’s due to fact that most students realize everything imparted on them by their previous influences is absolute truth, and not to ever be questioned—especially the political views that seem to be almost identical to those of their parents.
Further, blessed are the accounting and finance majors, among others, who realized there is truly nothing more to life than crunching numbers and garnering as much wealth as possible, as money is the root of the deepest and most fulfilling facets of life. I can’t begin to even discern why anyone would pursue anything else, and I truly relish the opportunity to expend my youth working 18-hour days to earn a comfortable salary that I will never be able to spend. And I find that these types are, again, certainly silent in the midst of scholastic confabulation, not because they are simply going through the motions of life and at their core have no real underlying motives for their choices, but rather because no need exists within them to harp on things that they understand so fully already.
Alas, what perhaps amazes me most is how uniformly students are more informed than and intellectually superior to not only their professors, but also the thinkers who, in antiquity, deliberated the knowledge each student is presented with. For thousands of years, the most profound individuals have wrestled with what is right and what is wrong, what is benign and what is malign, yet almost every student here is so sure in their actions that any advice they receive is rather rudimentary and frankly useless. Specifically in the political spectrum, I often find myself dumbfounded with how every student deliberates with absolute certainty unwilling to entertain the contrarian among them. I guess it must be I who is wrong in reasoning that every single student cannot be right.
Purposefully, I hope to relay my message, as always, with incredibly inclusive diction and modestly propose that you are reluctant to dismiss the most literal of interpretations of this article. As a brief concession, perhaps, through esoteric understanding, the greatest receiver of this article’s criticism is its own originator, but again, perhaps not. It is with criticism, not flattery, that growth is found, and it is in that spirit that I offer this column. Only time will tell what this writing inspires, but I am hopeful it will be the former, and if it is not, then the problem at hand is much greater than any of us could ever hope to cure.
Featured Graphic by Nicole Chan / Graphics Editor