Perspectives on College, and its Value, Then and Now.

This, from cousin Ivan, an English Professor here at IU:

Where have all the English majors gone?

Especially, I’d say, when students have to pay for their own college education (my parents were able to pay mine), and so they must “get a job” after they graduate at the very least to pay off all the loans. But unless they keep up the payments, that’s impossible, and, due to high interest, the amount owed grows. And yet what’s available? Wage-slave”service” jobs.

Meanwhile, it’s not just English Departments that are losing students. The point is, all of the humanities are losing status and value in a world gone mad with consumerism and materialism as the only culturally sanctioned (conditioned, brain-washed) world view. Oh?

Via Zilia, who recently received her Ph.D. (in one of the humanities departments) at IU.

The Day the Purpose of College Changed

After February 28, 1967, the main reason to go was to get a job

I remember all the talks, back in the mid to late ’60s, with my Dad, a doctor, who just shook his head when I told him I was “majoring in philosophy.” He figured I’d never “get a job.” I figured I wouldn’t either, and it scared me at the time, though I tried not to show it. Because even then, I knew I didn’t want a job, not if it would suck out my soul.

Then I did “get a job,” the perfect job! — just after being granted my Ph.D., as full time teacher at New College, then a one-year-old experimental college in Sausalito, California — and was fired after one year for being “too experimental”! That was in September, 1973. But I’ve told that story before. (New College, by the way, after moving to San Francisco, and despite valiant efforts to remain viable in terms of “accreditation,” died in 2010.)

Meanwhile, how did I survive in this world that, even then, felt so foreign to my own values? Philosophy, that’s how. Due to my mental training, I was able to gather and weigh enormous perspectives, to recognize and critique my own thinking processes (conscious and unconscious), to imagine other worlds, and, ultimately to utilize synchronicity to guide me in learning how to blend who I am with what the world needed. Thus, post-firing, after three years eagerly devouring all that philosophical astrologer Dane Rudyhar had to offer, and recognizing the path I had been on — see this:

Dane Rudyhar, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Me

— beginning in 1976, I started my practice as an “astrological consultant,” interpreting the language of the cycles of our human lives with the symbolic language of planetary cycles. My practice was successful; I loved what I was doing and never looked back.

Thank you, philosophy. And thank you Dad, for paying my college tuition bills. And thank you to my soul, for inserting me into this mad mad world at the moment when nuclear fission was invited into our cultural milieu (the “exploding nuclear bomb,” BTW, could be the perfect symbol of intense, overwhelming creativity, once we get it out of the destructive realm), which also happened to be the time, post WWII, when the middle class finally got a foothold in America. And so my Dad could pay tuition for me and my seven sibs. Even though he didn’t “believe” in my choices, he paid the bills. Thank you again!

I was fortunate; college kids today, not nearly so much. Credit cards and easy credit for school loans, plus rising tuition costs, have together dramatically diminished possibilities for young people at the very beginning of their lives — and at the age when few of them really realize what getting into debt means for their entire future. (I didn’t even own a credit card until I was 36 years old.)

Here’s one of my young podmates, Katarina, a few days ago, talking about the grant writing process with the one person, Melissa (with her friend Ben), who couldn’t make the first, and just completed, 8:00 A.M. “Grant Group” meeting (with breakfast) where they scoped out the complexity of the Tunnel Park Project.


And here’s the full Grant Group, at last night’s neighborhood event: Katarina, Melissa, John, and Heather. At least some of the young ones have college loans to pay off. (The older man snuck into the group photo without realizing it, and we didn’t want to reject him.)


BTW: excuse the fuzzy photos: hand tremor.

Oh well!

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