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A Review
Chapter XIII
Boris Sidis'
Philistine and Genius
by Doug Renselle

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Chapter XIII
In Lieu of Vested Academia, Grow Your Own Intellect!
©Quantonics' contrived chapter title.


(Most quotes verbatim Boris Sidis, some paraphrased.)

(Relevant to Pirsig, William James Sidis, and Quantonics Thinking Modes.)
74 "The great thinker, John Stuart Mill [An empiricist and anti-intuitionist Mill's philosophy innately denies any possibility of quantum complementarity i.e., he says we have no experience outside our anthropocentric sensory experiences. 14May2000 Doug.], insists that 'the great business of every rational being is the strengthening and enlarging of his own intellect and character. The empirical knowledge which the world demands, which is the stock in trade of money-getting, we would leave the world to provide for itself.' We must make our system of education such 'that a great man may be formed by it, and there will be a manhood in your little men of which you do not dream. We must have a system of education capable of forming great minds.' Education must aim at the bringing out of the genius in man. Do we achieve such aim by the" (Our bold emphasis. Our bracketed notes.)

Classicism engenders naïveté on its practitioners.

Mill's assumption that sentients can be 'rational,' in general, is classical. In general, quantum beings (which humans are) are globally non-rational, i.e., global concord is intrinsically absent and in general, unachievable. All anthropocentric decisions are both uncertain and local-context dependent (islandic) with every local context unique! Heresy (quantum-uncertain choice) is built in to every human decision. Quantum reality is heretic! Heresy is good! (Can you hear any classicists screaming "...hell and damnation...," listen, can you?)

"formation of philistine-specialists and young petty-minded artisans?

"'The very cornerstone of an education,' Mill tells us, 'intended to form great minds, must be the recognition of the principle, that the object is to call forth the greatest possible quantity of intellectual power, and to inspire the intensest love of truth; and this without a particle of regard to the results to which the exercise of that power may lead.' With us the only love of truth is the one that leads to the shop, the bank and the counting-house.

"The home controls the school and the college. As long as the home is dominated by commercial ideals, the school will turn out mediocre tradesmen.

"This, however, is one of the characteristic types of the American home: the mother thinks of dresses, fashions and parties."

(Our bold emphasis.)

But Mill's cherished truth is, like choice, quantum uncertain. We may garner a modicum of local truth for smaller local contexts, but as context grows without limit any truth becomes more uncertain, less decidable. Generally, there is no absolute truth. Instead, as Pirsig, James, Renouvier, Bergson, Poincaré, et al., surmise truth is plural thus we say, "Many truths to you."

And Boris, appropriately, puts commercial truth in its place. It is for SOM's barbarians, its philistines, its mongers of money, its seekers of a deluded $-hegemonic dream...

"...dresses, fashions, and parties."


"The daughter twangs and thrums on the piano, makes violent attempts at singing that sound as 'the crackling of thorns under a pot,' is passionately fond of shopping, dressing and visiting. Both, mother and daughter, love society, show and gossip. The father works in some business or at some trade and loves sports and games. Not a spark of refinement and culture, not a redeeming ray of love of knowledge and of art, lighting up the commonplace and frivolous life of the family. What wonder that the children of ten and eleven can hardly read and write, are little brutes and waste away their precious life of childhood in the close, dusty, overheated rooms of the early grades of some elementary school? Commercial mediocrity is raised at home and cultivated in the school.

"'As a means of educating the many,"

(Our bold, red and green emphasis.)
Only a tad 'o gender bias here.

Boris' indictment holds, still, today.

What can we say? USA is, still, a land of wasted intellectual opportunity.

"the universities are absolutely null,' exclaims Mill. [']The attainments of any kind required for taking all the degrees conferred by these bodies are, at Cambridge, utterly contemptible.' Our American schools, with their ideals of money-earning capacities, our colleges glorying in their athletics, football teams and courses for professional and business specializations would have been regarded by Mill as below contempt.

"What indeed is the worth of an education that does not create, even as much as an ordinary respect for learning and love of truth, and that prizes knowledge in terms of bard cash? What is the educational worth of a college or of a university which suppresses its most gifted students by putting them under the ban of disorderly behavior, because of not conforming to commonplace mannerisms? What is"

(Our bold emphasis. Our bracketed notes.)

However, all that money-mongering has raised USA's living standards to a point where any number of those who wish to pursue intellectual endeavors is hugely increased from Boris' time. Witness vast, non-c.v.'d intellectual pursuits on WWW. So perhaps we might view it (money-mongering) as an interim, evolutionary step, requisite to asymptotically approach Boris' dream (somewhat as Quantonics sees CR as an interim leading to a more MoQ/quantum culture). Methinks that be closer to actual than Boris' classical one-shot admonitions. Imagine Boris' possible memes had he a larger, more quantum, perspective. Consider how Boris' own classicism partly blinded him to portions of his own 'reserve energy.'
78 "the educational value of a university which is but a modern edition of a gladiatorial school with a smattering of the humanities? What is the educational value of an institution of learning that expels its best students because they 'attract more attention than their professors?' What is the intellectual level of a college that expels from its courses the ablest of its students for some slight infringement, and that an involuntary one, under the pretext that it is done for the sake of class discipline, 'for the general good of the class?' What travesty on education is a system that suppresses genius in the interest of mediocrity? What is the cultural, the humanistic value of an education that puts a prize on mediocrity?" (Our bold emphasis.)

When I was at Purdue, many years ago, I failed an ROTC 'test.' Jocks were given answers to tests prior and received perfect scores! So much for academic 'excellence.' Do colleges still do that today? What other corrupt things do they do to achieve 'academic excellence?' In secondary schools how many teachers are handing out test answers prior to graduation competency tests? That could not possibly be happening in our USA at Millennium III's start, could it?
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