The “university experience” is what it is, namely, the “university experience” and my mind drifts to an occassion when I had to write a particular essay for my “alma mater’s” resident petite bourgeois Marxist on the French Philosopher, Jean Jacques Rousseau and there was me sitting at my window in Portstewart looking out to the Atlantic and my mate, Billy, a very clear thinking, extremely intelligent, fourth internationalist asking me, what the matter was? “This essay”, I replied, and threw in a few “fuckings”, such as, “it is fucking my head up”. “Read me what you have written”, he said and I read him up to the bit where I was drawing a comparison between, ‘The Social Contract’ and ‘Emile’. “Right”, he said and soon there he was brilliant Billy dictating to me straight from the top of his head, with sources and everything and there was me with my touch typing skills knocking out a reasonable little ditty in no time at all. The following morning I handed in the essay to our resident petite bourgeois Marxist and a couple of days later he called me into his office. “Reluctantly, I have given you a 2i”, he said and went on to say, “Reluctantly, because I don’t understand how you can write two pages of crap and then three pages of what I can only say is brilliant.” The point I am trying to make is this, an education is not all about sticking our heads in books and we really do need a wee bit of ambience sometimes and why I was reminded today a wee bit of what is missing in my life at the moment; the tête-à-tête, the quiet libation, the witty intelligent conversation, the ambience.
Today I took myself off to Munich and I met a couple of mates. The conversation was refreshing, challenging and it got me thinking and do you know, sometimes there is no substitute for a good discussion and listening to opinions other than your own, especially if those opinions make sense even although you might disagree with them because when we disagree with them we have to think why we are disagreeing and it really is living the “thesis, anti-thesis, synthesis” thing. When we leave university we usually look at books where we agree with the author and the author agrees with us and it is all so much easier than reading someone who we might not agree with and … well, we become a trifle set in our ways, not so open-minded, not so questioning andtoday I came up for air and was reminded that good witty, intelligent discussion is more than just one of life’s little pleasures.
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