Friday, September 7, 2018

#250 / These Observations Still Seem True

The business of "publish or perish" has been a catastrophe. People write things which should never have been written and which should never be printed. Nobody's interested. But for them to keep their jobs and get the proper promotion, they've got to do it. It demeans the whole of intellectual life ... The one who really loses is the person who has a passionate interest in matters of the mind, who is an excellent reader, who can establish contact with his students and make them understand that his subject is important, but who will not write....

The above remarks by Hannah Arendt were made during a 1972 conversation that included Arendt, Paul Freund, Irving Kristol, and Hans Morgenthau. The conversation was convened by Kenneth W. Thompson, then the vice president of the Rockefeller Foundation. Arendt's complete thoughts on "Values in Contemporary Society" can be found in Thinking Without a Banister, a 569-page collection of some of Arendt's short essays and other writings. 

Arendt's observations, although made forty-six years ago, still seem true to me, and if we want to "rethink college," as I think we ought to, these remarks would be a good place to begin. 

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