Monday, November 9, 2009

Robert Pirsig on Teaching Colleges

The school was what could euphemistically be called a "teaching college." At a teaching college you teach and you teach and you teach with no time for research, no time for contemplation, no time for participation in outside affairs. Just teach and teach and teach until your mind grows dull and your creativity vanishes and you become an automaton saying the same dull things over and over to endless waves of innocent students who cannot understand why you are so dull, lose respect and fan this disrespect out into the community. The reason you teach and you teach and you teach is that this is a very clever way of running a college on the cheap while giving a false appearance of genuine education. - Robert M. Pirsig, Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance (Bantam: 1975), 129.

  • In case you are wondering, my current place of work does not have the ethos of a teaching college, at least not in the euphemistic sense. The teaching load is heavy by university standards, but lighter than many another private liberal arts college.
  • I am reading and thoroughly enjoying Pirsig's Zen at the recommendation of my friend, Jeremy Kroeker, whose excellent funny Motorcycle Therapy: A Canadian Adventure in Central America I recommend highly--even though I have never successfully ridden a mortorcycle.

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