Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Prospects for a Columbian Education

What does it mean to be a Columbian? In the elegant tone of PrezBo it would seem to be idealistic and cherished in opitimism. The prosperity of his words is unmistakenable: which is good to hear, and to believe in...there is someone that truly cares about this school sufficient to believe he can change this school. It is ambitious, rare, but is it Columbian?

Treading, always, between insanity and pessimism -- the Columbian ventures away from optimism an speaks, instead, of the darker dreams that lay ahead. There is a problem of expediency, efficacy and value. As we valuate ourselves, our needs, our communities needs -- we harbor restraint, more so than Bollinger, in seeing the great path to the future. Hobbled by our mindful constraints we lay to rest any image that being at Columbia is easy. It isn't. Is Bollinger an idealist, as the recent NY Times article suggests...I could see people agreeing with this, falsely, I think.

Bollinger is an academic, bright, articulate and always pensive. His work ethic is clear -- as you see the delicacy and detail in his briefs, in his speeches, in his knowledge. Perhaps my bias shows: I must say I truly respect the man. So what hasn't he done for me? Nothing. I think the problem is less him, and more the Columbian. The problem you could call it, but that suggests there is a necessary or appropriate response, which there is none for our condition. We are the skeptics. We are the purveyors of pessimism, and as such any oasis of mind is rebuked by notions of toil, challenge, difficulty and uneasiness. Is this all of Academia? Is this life? Perhaps, but Columbia accentuates it, I have noticed, it pampers itself in its lack of action, constant skepticism and driving pessimism.

What we ought to ask at this time: should we change? Should we sell-out to be a better school, or are we good enough already? These are questions we need to answer for ourselves: and they should be the questions we use to qualify our commitment to the process. If we want to be better (or at least better known) is it worth the effort, everyone's effort? If not, then let us remain as we are, it would seem to be more intelligent, than struggle in strife.