Universities, Incubators for a Revolution


Viikko 5


Motion: THB that universities should receive a (radical) facelift (by radicals)
Role: PM (govt./prop.)

If we think about (Finnish) universities, most people think highly of them. In the following, I’m going to offer up a slightly contrarian view. I don’t think they are what they are cracked up to be — truly.

Let me first bring up the so-called ”windmill” analogy. Universities are like modern electricity-producing windmills: a) They look imposing. b) They emit a slightly scary, quiet droning sound. c) They produce very little electricity for the grid to consume. d) They have popped up mainly in the provinces (as people have moved away to the capital, thus leaving amply space for installations.) The last clause applies to the so-called AMK’s or polytechnic colleges, as well, or in particular.

People come to universities to do many things. They do sports. They eat in restaurants. They meet up for drinks. They pair up and have sex. They make excursions to the countryside. They advertise for and answer to apt. rentals. In short, people do (rather) anything and everything but science. And as far as I’m concerned, if they have nothing else than non-science to do, they could by all means go and do it someplace else. In other words, conical and tubular ivory towers that call themselves modern universities are filled with squares, square pegs. The problem with them is that they are meant to form the executive and analytical classes rather than go and work in some performative job, which is all they ever wanted. Universities should be reserved for the types who are not criminally insane, criminal, insane, addicted to substances or adventurers but who do not fit in anywhere else. If one fits in nicely in society, one’s place is not at a university. University should be home to intellectual misfits.

What I’m saying is that universities should practise their so-called brilliant mission or mission of brilliance in society. They should be for trying out a revolution. I’m not talking about the garden-variety, political revolution, which would turn out bloody and be aimed at or against the state. Universities should be the trying grounds for any revolution except the political and violent kind. If people hypothesised, researched, grouped and built things up selflessly around things and theories, universities might merit and credit the freedoms they claim are infrangible, inviolable, and integral to their wellbeing.

More than that universities appear to be like limbos between the hellfire of adolescence and the heaven of a well-paid steady job or tenure. If a university comes across as a mere repository of square pegs, why shouldn’t it be subject to a (F. W.) Taylorist scientific-management efficiency reform? When universities are loath to revolutionise themselves, they become targets for other people’s revolutions.

Puheen kesto: 3 min 55 sek
Arvio: * * * *. Puhe menee rohkeasti suoraan asiaan. Siinä nostatetaan henkeä kuten sopii pm-puheeseen. Tästä lähestymistavasta voi joissakin tapauksissa aiheutua ongelmia jäljessä tuleville puhujille, mutta se myös antaa tilaa tehdä omannäköistä settiä sen jälkeen.



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