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Program Description

Posted by: pailthor | March 3, 2010 Comments Off |

Fall and Winter quarters

FacultyCharles Pailthorp philosophy, Bret Weinstein, biology

Class Standing: All level

CRN: 30385, 30387

Spring Quarter (new):

You have a purpose, and we know what it is. You are lucky in this regard because until the publication of On the Origin of Species in 1859, there was no way of knowing one’s purpose.  You, on the other hand, can know it, inspect it, consider it, and evaluate it.

Most people who learn their purpose go back to living as they were before they knew it. “We’re Here!” is not a good match for such people. We’ve planned this program for those who can recognize their given purpose for what it is (noticing that it’s stupid) and who will reject it in favor of something with meaning and depth, something for which they were not designed. This program will suit those who can simultaneously recognize that a good wrench makes a terrible hammer, and that a terrible hammer can be used to good effect.

Are you one of those who on March 29 at 9 am, in Sem 2 E1107, should join us in saying “We’re Here!”?

  • Does failure make you uncomfortable?
  • Do you lose confidence because the consensus is running against you?
  • Do you think breakthroughs are primarily the result of hard work and high IQ?
  • Do you think one should read thoroughly all the literature in a field before addressing the big questions found there?
  • Are you seeking a well planned and interesting spring program that will unfold in front of you?

People who answer “no” to all five of these questions should find a way to join us.

This program is an experiment, and most experiments fail. The professors who created this program like each other. When we talk, it often goes somewhere interesting. We’ve resisted planning our program in detail because we’re more interested in continuing our discussion of new and untested ideas than we are in teaching you what we might claim to know. This program will explore frontiers, which we think will be exciting.  Many, however, don’t enjoy exploring frontiers, although they might like watching others do so.  This program isn’t planned for those sitting in the audience. We’ll see many things, but the program is what we’ll be doing, not what we’re witnessing.  Participation will require discussion, using our senses, engaging our bodies and minds – and one another – actively.  Passivity, not failure, is what we won’t tolerate.  If you approach your education passively, even if you’re skillful and good about doing what you’re told because you’ve been told, we hope you’ll find a different program.  Join us if – really only if –you’re eager to take responsibility for creating, critiquing and driving the discussion and all of our studies forward.

16 credits won’t measure what this program will demand of you, nor does it measure what we aspire to. The load of reading and writing will not be onerous, but the demands on your mind and your time will be extreme and extend well beyond scheduled class time.  Good work will arise from interacting extensively and courageously with other people in the program, both in and out of class, from wrestling continuously with the ideas we craft, even while you have other things going on.  Good work will demand persistence, energy, focus, sobriety, good humor, intellectual courage, and the discipline to work hard with genuine enjoyment.

You surely want to know more about what We’re Here! will be, where we’ll go from Here! We’ll have a much better idea by week 10 of spring term. Think carefully about joining us.  You’ll be welcome if doing so leads you into the room.

Bret and Chuck

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