Yesterday, I fought a war. Or perhaps more accurately, a series of small battles. I possessed under my command two companies, each with 5 soldiers trained in the deadly art of blowing each other’s brains out. Pyrrhic though the battles were (I lost a total of 7 men), I must admit there came with the fight a degree of catharsis, which, for me at least, defined the true victory of the gloomy afternoon.
College, especially of the elite variety, is problematic on numerous fronts. Most clearly apparent in my battlings of yore were the difficulties posed by the crippling intellectualism that runs rampant through the hallowed halls of my very own scholastic buildings. Between exchanges on the nature of metaphysics, questions of the morality of grapefruit, and considerations of alternatives to euthanasia and suicide, my morning (it’s now 10:37 a.m.) has been filled with more bloated intellectuality than most people might encounter in a week.
Please understand, this is not a trumpeting of the academically superior over the base mediocrity of general society; far from it. This is a lament of the difficulties posed by the breakdown in communication that so often and tragically give rise to war. Indeed, it is perhaps for no greater reason than his willingness to sit down without precondition and talk (JUST TALK) with world leaders with whom the US does not have the greatest of relations that I hold President Barack Obama in high esteem.
(Note: for the following sentence, the reader should feel free to insert “Ziek” for “one”)
Herein lies the problem: when one spends all of one’s time engaging one’s self with others, one quickly loses the ability and understanding necessary to engage non-verbally with others. That is, the intellectual verbal vomit of certain ivy league institutions poses a significant threat to one’s ability to interact outside of the realm of the verbally cerebral with the rest of the world.
This, then, is the ironic twist: breakdowns in communications pose difficulties only for those who typically do not experience said disconnects (read: stupid1 smart college students) and not those individuals for whom silence and non-verbal communication are the norm. Thus, most breakdowns in communications (in this author’s humble opinion) may be traced directly to the conflict between the intellectual and (from your narrator’s modest perspective) everyone else. Thus, intellectuals lie at the root of all communication-related problems and should be exorcised from the community.
Case and point: yesterday, my tutee decided he was not going to talk to me. After I (not ungently) chastised him for not doing his homework for the past two weeks, he decided he didn’t want to say anything and stared blankly at the wall fidgeting with a pen for THREE QUARTERS OF AN HOUR while I lamely attempted to engage him in conversation and various academic-related tasks.
Giving up, I invited him to play a game of war (not the lame – o card game; the one with a pencil and paper where you stand the pencil on end with your index finger and have to “shoot” across the page at your opponent’s dots) at which point he quickly engaged and began to smile. He also inserted sound effects.
So much for the triumph of academic conversation.
1Please note. I here use “stupid” independently as a adverb, not as a compound adjective with smart. For further examples, see this.