Saturday, January 23, 2010


You cannot create literature as a professional writer. You cannot discover breakthrough knowledge as a professional scientist. And you cannot inspire mankind as a professional philosopher.

When we take our most treasured enterprises and transform them into commodities, we destroy all their merit. We now have millions of writers, but no brilliant words. We now have millions of scientists, but no useful insight. We now have millions of philosophers, but no courageous wisdom.

Academia has fossilized humanity's worth.


Steve D said...

I disagree.

Alan Griswold said...

Hi Steve - good to hear from you again. And you certainly have earned this month's brevity award! :-)

I'm sure you have lots of good company in your disagreement, but I can't help but see many parallels between the academic/professional community of the early 21st Century and the medieval church pre Renaissance - once vibrant and useful entities that have grown and coalesced into massive and frozen conventionalities. My hope is that the Internet and other such tools will break the logjam yet once again and humanity can forge new paths forward. We'll see.

dionnes said...

Alan -
Parallels do nothing but form two sides of a ... parallelogram.
Pardon the flimsy analogy, but I am trying to point out that the topics you raise (literature, philosophy, science, academia) cannot possibly be boiled down, put in the palm of one's hand, and hence discarded in a three-paragraph blog post.

I think by stating your views in such a way you are implying a sort of resigned ennui about "the state of things", and furthermore you are only stating one aspect of your views to begin with - the one that was most prominent in your mind as you sat down to write. I have read other comments here in which you are quite inspired by a particular piece of science or literature.

But all that aside, you may have accomplished the same literary outcome (am I allowed to call it literature?) by simply saying "I'm grumpy right now" or something to that general effect.

By the way, a monthly brevity award is a bit of an existential oxymoron, wouldn't you agree?

Alan Griswold said...

I guess you are right about the brevity award, an award that can achieve its ultimate fulfillment only by disappearing!

dionnes said...

Hey, maybe we can call it the "Soul of Wit award" :)