Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The virtues of asceticism.

Michael Lopez, guestblogging for Joanne Jacobs, complains about the excess of stuff that today's college students lug around. He thinks that "a little asceticism can actually go a long way towards focusing the consciousness on the matter at hand, which presumably is to get an education." Due to a fortuitous confluence of two deadly sins -- sloth and greed -- I lived through college without ever having a TV, or a computer that could play DVDs. I also owned virtually no computer games. To some extent, this did in fact help me focus on academics. But mostly, it just forced my procrastination into pursuits that were arguably even more pointless, such as Flash games and (ahem) blogs.

He also contemplates the phenomenon of teachers following their students through the first couple of grades. In my own early education -- which took place in a system quite different from the American public school system -- one teacher followed my class through the first five grades or so. The ultimate representative of this practice, of course, is Mr. Feeny, who managed to follow his students to college.


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