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"Need to Know" 2
March 1, 2010 - 8:42am

Or, “speaking of double-edged swords…”

I’m Albert Ferme-Bohr IV, I like chemistry, biology, physics, hell, name a science and I adore it. As a student at NYU, I have to do a course called “Conversations of the West” as part of my Morse Academic Plan (MAP) , NYU’s core curriculum. I just realized I couldn’t have escaped “Con’ West” while Dermot O’Brien could have, if he’d bothered his ass, escaped both Natural Science I, a course like his feeble “Energy and the Environment” and a Natural Science II with a 4 or 5 in AP Biology or Chemistry.

I’m pissed!

Knowing that Dermot wouldn’t have had to do the science parts of MAP if he’d done a science AP, I wonder why my APs in history and politics don’t do me any good vis a vis MAP? I wonder, above all, why the hell Dermot is complaining so much. After all, if science is really as dominant as he thinks (or fears), how come it’s so escapable?

Meanwhile, and this is what really pisses me off, in “Con’ West” I’m knee deep in Plato; I’ve read “the Symposium” and chunks of “the Republic.” I think it’s nonsense. Take the Symposium, a bunch of guys, about a third bi-, a third gay, and at least a third pedophiles, sit around and talk about love. No women at the conversation, but that’s okay because loving them is a lower kind of love…give me a break! Meanwhile, in the Republic, after a bunch of fatuous arguments about justice, “in-itself,” we’re presented with a utopia that features censorship, some form of eugenics, and a system built around the ridiculous notion that we already know what we know, we just have to recollect it.

We’re meant to respect Plato’s work because…because it’s old? Or because, as the professor put it, “it’s the foundation of Western thought,” but what does that mean? Did he mean it’s the foundation like a building has a foundation? I think he did. So far as I can tell his “foundation of Western Thought” is made of all the sexist, racist, aristocratic, stuff we’ve discarded, all the stuff that isn’t good enough for us to use in our actual building. All the stuff I don’t need to know.


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