Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Arts and Science


Feeling good about being a university dropout after reading someone else's ideas on the subject. Here's Thoreau (from Walden Pond):

"If I wished a boy to know something about the arts and sciences, for instance, I would not pursue the common course, which is merely to send him into the neighborhood of some professor, where any thing is professed and practised but the art of life; -- to survey the world through a telescope or a microscope, and never with his natural eye; to study chemistry, and not learn how his bread is made, or mechanics, and not learn how it is earned; to discover new satellites to Neptune, and not detect the motes in his eyes, or to what vagabond he is a satellite himself; or to be devoured by the monsters that swarm all around him, while contemplating the monsters in a drop of vinegar. Which would have advanced the most at the end of a month, -- the boy who had made his own jackknife from the ore which he had dug and smelted, reading as much as would be necessary for this, -- or the boy who had attended the lectures on metallurgy at the Institute in the mean while, and had received a Rogers? penknife from his father? Which would be most likely to cut his fingers? -- To my astonishment I was informed on leaving college that I had studied navigation! -- why, if I had taken one turn down the harbor I should have known more about it. Even the poor student studies and is taught only political economy, while that economy of living which is synonymous with philosophy is not even sincerely professed in our colleges. The consequence is, that while he is reading Adam Smith, Ricardo, and Say, he runs his father in debt irretrievably."

What could I have hoped to learn in McMaster's Arts and Science programme that life in Buddhist monasteries and jungle groves could not trump a thousand times over? Or travel to India? Next month, off to study in the Buddha's footsteps.