scholarly musings?

escape_velocity's picture

This is slightly irrelevant, however, I'd feel like a capital-D dork if I posted it on my other journal site. I set the topic as "rant," though this really isn't a negative spiel. It's just a tangent of thought that I'd like to follow about reading, learning, and writing. Read on if you wish . . .

I'm currently reading Reading Lolita in Tehran, which is about a woman who lived and taught literature in Iran. She withdrew from the university she was originally teaching at in order to teach a small group of women. They read classic Western literature such as Lolita and The Great Gatsby. The way the author describes her time at the university (as a student), and her talks with her young charges, a very scholarly feel is presented. And I don't think that the majority of students at most universities these days really consider themselves scholars. They don't spend hours lying on the campus green, chatting with professors and pondering the meaning of life. They don't delve into their subjects with a thirst for learning. Nay, most of the students I encounter are at college to further their potential careers and to, in turn, make more money. As much as I love technoloy, sometimes I just want to go back; back to the time when letter-writing was romantic and special, not dated. Now, why would you write a letter or send a card when you could just send an e-mail? This is the passage that really got me thinking:

". . . their attachment was based, more than anything else, on words. During their courtship they wrote letters and read poetry to each other. They became addicted to the secure world they created through words, a conspiratorial world in which everything that was hostlie and uncontrollable became soft and articulated." (From Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi.)

And, I don't know, I guess I just see that there's something different in the way people write and the way people type. Writing by hand is more thoughtful, in my experience. I type more quickly than I write, but I do a lot more backspacing, as well.

I'd like to go back; back to when people discussed the content of their classes with their classmates, really discussed things. I know that there are students like this out there, who learn for the simple joy of learning. Where are they? Is my image of the ideal university a romantic and utopian one, that doesn't really exist outside of literature?

Comments

nikodemus's picture

It May Exist...

I believe that this utopian university may exist but you cannot depend on others to create it for you. You need to put it together yourself, surround yourself with people of like minds who enjoy discussing life and literature, start writing letters and you will begin to recieve letters. I have done my best to do this and true the results are a bit mixed but overall it is a brilliant experience. Also as you create this world, this community if you will, you will grow in intelligence, wisdom, and spirit. Good Luck!

"Artists have always been the initiators of revolution."
-Master Otori Niko

escape_velocity's picture

Thank you

Thank you very much, what you say is quite true. I will definitely try to start this for myself and see how it goes.

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escape velocity
n.

The minimum velocity that a body must attain to escape a gravitational field completely.