On Liberal Education
Please follow this link: “Why I Defaulted On My Student Loans”:
I think that Mr. Siegel learned a real lesson from his liberal education. “Liberal” education means education for a free person; and surely debt servitude is not freedom. In effect the college gave him one last test; honor those excessive debts or not? Fail this test and you’re a rule-following slave, pass it and you’re reprehensible but free. Siegel had to choose between subjugation and rebellion; he chose rebellion, and he advocates the same for others. I say that his liberal education was a success.
My own education did not involve debt, thank goodness, but U.C. Berkeley had to exploit me somehow, so they underpaid me as a ‘teaching assistant’ - that is, a teacher, for the professors were figureheads. At the time I thought that my hours spent learning Metamathematics and Set Theory were the valuable core of my grad-school education, and my hours spent teaching Algebra, Statistics and Calculus were make-work. After graduation I learned that no-one wanted to pay a cent for Metamath, but I could make a living teaching Algebra. So in practice the make-work was education, and the education was make-work.
But though I filled up spiral-bound notebooks with class notes about transfinite cardinals, and though those notebooks fill milk-crates, all now gathering dust in a shed, still my efforts were not in vain; for this dreary labor provoked me to eradicate the transfinite entirely. Refuting transfinite set theory requires paradox; so I wrote my thesis on paradox logic, and it was accepted.
Paradox logic proved to be, in financial terms, almost as worthless as set theory. I figure that sales on my textbooks on this subject have earned me hundreds of dollars so far. But paradox logic has also proved to be enormously valuable to me, in spiritual terms. The world makes more sense to me with paradox included; there are so many things that are as true as they’re false. Once you see the logic-knots, you can’t unsee them; but neither do they mislead you anymore. To me, detecting paradox is both profitable and consoling.
And liberating. So I too, unwittingly, got the benefit of a liberal education. But please note; not by borrowing for it but by slaving for it; and not by remembering it but by rejecting it!