In two words: factories of the mind. Let’s look at them a little close. Meanwhile, when I write saying that the universities are factories of the mind, I mean factories of the State, of the Church, of the Capitalism, of Military Academies, of Science in general, etc., this confirms their servile function towards their masters. Furthermore, I don’t say this because I want to offend them, much less insult university students, graduates or because I am envious since I am not a graduate. At all. This thought has never even crossed my mind, especially since I don’t see graduates and non-graduates around, I only see human beings. When I write saying that universities are factories of the mind at the service of the Powerful Men, I write it because in reality they are so. Nobody is born with a degree or a specialization. Anyone who has a brain knows this, understands it. He/she doesn’t say it because certain things are not said, but this is the reality, a somewhat uncomfortable reality according to certain customs, but we have enough of falsehood and nonsense in this discriminatory and absurd world and we certainly don’t intend to make it even more unlivable.
To make the argument clearer between mechanical factories and factories of the mind, let’s take an example. Let’s take a car that comes out fresh from a mechanical factory. We know that for a number of years the car runs perfectly, with exceptions. Does the graduate, however, the one who has just finished his studies in a factory of the mind, work perfectly as it has been planned and built? I wouldn’t say it. In no way. Immanuel Kant used to say something like this: As long as the students have a teacher to guide them, everything is okay, however, finished the study, finished the guide and the graduate is left alone! So if we are going to be fair, mechanical factories are much more precise than mind factories.
However, I too have had some experience with the factories of the mind. For example, when, towards the end of the 1960s, I was living in Paris (I worked during the day and studied in the evening), I went for a few lessons whose subject I was interested at the Sorbonne; in Melbourne, Australia, I went to an anthropology course the evening after work at Monash University; at the CAE (Council of adult Education), in Melbourne, I attended a number of courses that interested me and also some conferences at the University of Melbourne. When, at the end of the seventies, I was living in Copenhagen, I taught languages and attended courses and conferences, always to my liking in the various classrooms of the city; in Germany, Munich, I attended many meetings on writers and philosophers at the Leopold Strauss University, while I was studying German; I studied for two years at the University for Foreigners students of Perugia, studying my native language and other subjects that interested me; at the University of Milan I studied the history of philosophy with Professor Cingoli for a whole year; in Spain, I studied philosophy with Xavier Zubiri and other academics matters at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. At the Popular University of Biella I taught English and gave a course on the “art of living” for many years. I studied and taught things that I loved. I hated studying or teaching subjects that they didn’t interest me. For me they were a source of frustration and a waste of time. Studying has always been a challenge to myself, a mental sport that I loved more than anything else. So, I too had some flirtations with the mind factories!
Of course, graduates from Oxford, Howard, Sorbonne, Sapienza, etc., may be seen as special machines of the mind, but they are machines of the mind and full stop!
Jean Jacque Rousseau said that you shouldn’t go to school before the age of 14 – 15. At that age, young people would have already learned many real things about life and they would appreciate education much more. Today, if he were still alive, who knows what he would have said seeing children who are almost still in diapers taking them to the kindergarten?
It is time to say things as they are in this agonizing world that we have created thanks to our ignorance and arrogance, and to stop saying what is convenient for us and for the unhealthy and sick institutions in which we live.