Most of our institutions are stuck in a Parkinsonian positive feedback loop, often without any real reason. Corporations and universities and media channels keep punching and torturing and strangling their customers, and then they wonder why their customers are running away.
Life is negative feedback. If the current path is leading to failure, try something different. This is the most basic fact of life, and the institutions can’t seem to figure it out.
Thinking about the Austin “free university” bait and switch again. Trying to be charitable this time, though I don’t really believe it.
Charitably: They’re stuck in the standard university path of accreditation and tenure. They don’t seem to realize that they CAN’T HAVE open discussion and standard university stuff at the same time. It’s just factually impossible and always has been factually impossible.
A university’s product is a credentialed student, and the credential is quality controlled by tyrants.
If the organizers really want an ‘academy’ that values free flow of ideas, they should set it up as a business with a real product. The students would be the makers, not the product.
I’m thinking of Bell Labs, but the same was true of every industrial research facility before the era of offshoring and Share Value. It’s probably still true in smaller companies.
Admittedly the ideas discussed in a glassware or wheat research facility are somewhat limited, but the process of productive discussion and the pleasure of creative discussion are the important learnings. The ideas are just the consumable lab equipment.
Above all, the students will get MORE EXPERIENCE and MORE MENTAL EXERCISE when working toward a physically achievable goal than they would get from the 136267th pointless rehashing of Plato or Nietzsche. Those “great ideas” were worn out a thousand years ago. A new variety of wheat, or a new way of refining oil, is GENUINELY NEW, and the students who help to create it will leave a GENUINE LEGACY.