Raw Thought

by Aaron Swartz

It’s Faust!

In response to my post on underachieving Harvard presidents, Harvard has named Drew Faust to be its new president (and the first woman).

You should follow me on twitter here.

February 12, 2007


With respect, you are in error. Drew Gilpin Faust earned this postion by her own considerable merits, and you can be certain that this was settled long before your post.

posted by on February 12, 2007 #

The attempt (by an anonymous commentor) to minimize the causative effect on your posting about Harvard’s presidency flies in the face of reason.

A simple chronological analysis makes it clear that the naming of a woman as president of Harvard was “In response to my post…”

By seeking to cast FUD on your position in this chain, “anonymous” shows an attempt to write history without first qualifying for the well-known fact that “history is written by the victors.”


posted by William Loughborough on February 12, 2007 #

I feel that the simplest way to understand universities is that they are bureaucracies sustained by transferring wealth from the state and alumni.

I don’t see how to prove it, but I feel that providing a real educational experience to the undergraduates would have the risk of jeopardizing this wealth transfer.

Anyway, I need answers to three questions:

1) What groups or individuals are actually undergoing an educational experience (educational experience defined as mastering a body of knowledge either to (directly) form values and further goals, or (indirectly) learn general techniques of developing such a mastery; where this experience is directed by a specialist)

2) Is it possible for an educational experience to be provided to the general population?

3) Is providing a educational experience necessary for humans to experience the benefits of their worth and potential?

My guesses:

1) Practically nothing worth calling education takes place in any human society. All successful education experiences occur in the margins in fleeting circumstances.

2) It is possible to provide an educational experience to the general population, but no wholesale technique will be effective. The only effective route is to encourage individual teachers to lead small groups of individual students. It would be the most expensive thing society would do, its expense would be far greater than any entitlement government currently provides.

3) Providing a educational experience is necessary for humans to experience the benefits of their worth and potential.

Now my main point…

Why is the Internets so much better than providing pictures of “lolcats” than answering these questions? Am I using my brower wrong? Is there a Firefox extension I am missing?

Aaron, now that you are underemployed, are you working on fixing the Interweb?

posted by manuelg on February 12, 2007 #

I bet if you read books as hard as you can, for a long enough time, you will eventually learn something.

I wouldn’t know. I’m illiterate.

posted by Ben Donley on February 13, 2007 #

posted by William Loughborough on February 13, 2007 #

About institutions visit Ivan Illich entry in Wikipedia and the full text of ‘Deschooling Society’

For other de-institutional ideas google Wolf Wolfensberger and see his treatise


posted by William Loughborough on February 13, 2007 #

Faust is the female Bok — she’ll look good, say the right things, but she’s a career academic who won’t rock the boat or make big reforms.

posted by Same Old on February 14, 2007 #

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