Archive for February 22nd, 2005

What is a University supposed to be about?

0

… especially one that fancies itself the greatest steward of the humanities in the world?

You
can click the picture for a 2x enlargement. Even so, You can’t see it,
but in the upper right hand corner, Paul Gauguin wrote three questions:

Where do we come from?
What are we?
 Where are we going?

{I
will put up the original french [I’ll clip from the Web 🙂 ] after I
enable French Characters on my [I’m ashamed to say] WinXP.}

As
we sit on the brink of World War III, this last seems most pressing.
Much like the NBER assessment of the economy, we won’t know until we’re
a bit farther down the road. WWW III is actually a small worry compared
to the extinction of our species which we seem to be signing up for.
We’re in deep s**t and could use all the help we can get. Honest
science can help. I say let’s invite the women. [Gee that was a bit
awkward!] Let’s ask the women to help us. [Would a truly efficient
market ignore more than half of the talent pool?] It’s not enough to
wait till University, but it’s a start. Let’s get cracking shall we? We
don’t really know how much time we have.

Professor Stephen, who
recently left us, would be very sad. He quotes Charles Darwin, “If the
misery of our poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our
institutions, great is our sin.” Not only are we mismeasuring man,
woman, and child, but we are mismeasuring [or in some cases not
measuring when we should and could] homo economicus as well. Let’s look
at this more carefully shall we? Before we reduce any more economies
and our own to feudalism. A ray of hope is Professor Stephen, who is
still with us. Others though, including some of the most influential in
the University, have, I fear, caused Harvard’s sin to be huge.

I don’t really know why Professor Cornell is no longer here. I did not know him personally. Still I miss him. Google points
me to context of the quote from Professor Charles. He believes that
slavery is a greater sin than what might be caused by the market. Like
Professor Michael, he believes there are moral limits to markets. I
will ask, [real soon now] has ‘market’ ever been defined without
explicit or implicit moral limits? And have the definers been honest
about their purpose?

I apologize to Professor Diana. Her
sweet, beautiful misapprehension was not of the business model of this
University, but a hopefully small portion of our fellows. I will tell
you. And I would like to tell about the day that Professor Margaret
took on all the faculty on Observatory Hill to say what honest
empiricism required her to say.

But what do I know?
I’m just the guy by the door who looks after things.

randy.f