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

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Chapter XIV
Say No! to Academic Game Sports & Social Correctness.
©Quantonics' contrived chapter title.


(Most quotes verbatim Boris Sidis, some paraphrased.)

(Relevant to Pirsig, William James Sidis, and Quantonics Thinking Modes.)
79 "Discipline, fixed habits approved by the pedagogue are specially enforced in our schools. To this may be added some 'culture' in the art of money-getting in the case of the boys, while in the case of girls the æsthetic training of millinery and dressmaking may be included. The colleges, in addition to class-discipline looked after by the professors and college-authorities, are essentially an organization of hasty-pudding clubs, football associations and athletic corporations. What is the use of a college if not for its games? Many regard the college as useful for the formation of business acquaintances in later life. Others again consider" (Our bold emphasis.)

"the college a good place for learning fine manners. In other words, the college and the school are for athletics, good manners, business companionship, mechanical arts and money-getting. They are for anything but education.

"We have become so used to college athletics that it appears strange and possibly absurd to demand of a college the cultivation of man's genius. Who expects to find an intellectual atmosphere among the great body of our college undergraduates? Who expects of our schools and colleges true culture and the cultivation of a taste for literature, art and science? A dean, an unusually able man, of one of the prominent Eastern colleges tells me that he and his friends are very pessimistic about his students and especially about the great body of undergraduate students. Literature, art, science have no interest"

(Our bold emphasis.)

These appear mostly as Victorian residuals. Pirsig saw both good and bad in effacement of Victorian ideals. He intuited a need for incremental, evolutionary change instead of US's actual anti-Victorian revolution which brought us many worse evils of socialism. But, again, these are not ends, but means. These are not final outcomes, but interims. Perhaps these are necessary interims in approaching a 'better' locus on our asymptote.

Ask for education of genius over production of athletics in colleges today and you will be either laughed or chased away. (And have you ever visited a beer-drenched frat house morning after a big game? Yuck! ESQ stuckness leads directly to yuckness! Ugh! Philistines and barbarians, indeed!)


"for the student; games and athletics fill his mental horizon.

"In the training of our children, in the education of our young, we think that discipline, obedience to paternal and maternal commands, whether rational or absurd, are of the utmost importance. We do not realize that in such a scheme of training we fail to cultivate the child's critical faculties, but only succeed in suppressing the child's individuality. We only break his will-power and originality. We also prepare the ground for future nervous and mental maladies characterized by their fears, indecisions, hesitations, diffidence, irritability, lack of individuality and absence of self-control.

"We laugh at the Chinese, because they bandage the feet of their girls, we ridicule those who cripple their chest and mutilate their figure by the tight lacing of their corsets,"

(Our bold, red and green emphasis.)

But Boris, how do we 'control' and prevent frat house barbarities? What educational regime do you recommend we adhere to wean us onto a new intellectual nirvana?

Actually, we can only institute plural means. Send barbarians one way and geniuses another. Too, we must not socialize them homogeneously. Life will reward accordingly, and sure enough, it does. Our advice to parents is to find your own 'lane' for your children. Find a lane that fits their nature. Boris' ideas are good, but they do not fit all people! He offers, "One solution fits all," and we intuit differently.


"but we fail to realize the baneful effects of submitting the young minds to the grindstone of our educational discipline. I have known good fathers and mothers who have unfortunately been so imbued with the necessity of disciplining the child that they have crushed the child's spirit in the narrow bonds of routine and custom. How can we expect to get great men and women when from infancy we train our children to conform to the philistine ways of Mrs. Grundy? [A priggish, Victorian, falsely modest woman.]

"In our schools and colleges, habits, discipline and behavior are specially emphasized by our teachers, instructors and professors. Our deans and professors think more of red tape, of "points," of discipline than of study; they think more of authoritative suggestion than of critical instruction. The pedagogue fashions the pupil after his own image. The professor,"

(Our bold emphasis. Our bracketed notes.)

"with his disciplinarian tactics, forces the student into the imbecile mummy-like mannerism of Egyptian pedantry and into the barrack-regulations of class etiquette. Well may professors of our 'war-schools' claim that the best education is given in military academies. They are right, if discipline is education. But why not the reformatory, the asylum and the prison?

"We trust our unfortunate youth to the Procrustean bed [harsh enforcement of an arbitrary standard] of the mentally obtuse, hide-bound pedagogue. We desiccate, sterilize, petrify and embalm our youth in keeping with the rules of our Egyptian code and in accordance with the Confucian regulations of our school-clerks and college mandarins. Our children learn by rote and are guided by routine."

(Our bold emphasis. Our bracketed notes.)

But Boris, "You are soooo... Politically Incorrect."
But Boris, "You are soooo.. Indiverse!"
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©Quantonics, Inc., 2000-2012 Rev. 26Aug2009  PDR Created: 5May2000  PDR
(20mar2001 rev - Change p. 81 comments 'However' to 'Too.')
(26Aug2009 rev - Make page current.)

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