I take a quick dip before heading into lecture, and the water is punitive, icy, invigorating. One more time I shake the Steinbeck through my head: his juxtaposition between the fish in the hand and the fish in the jar was never quite right. We don’t need manly fishermen in the ponds of knowledge (snagging and gobbling); neither do we need pedants of the known (hoarding their decomposing booty). After all, these seeming antitheses are more alike than different: both are, in the end, techniques of amassing; both are, in the end, greedy and possessive; both are, in the end, stuck in their ways. Neither knows how to come and go, how to touch things lightly, how to leave the best for others, how to look sideways, how to slip away. What we really need is something like the pedagogical equivalent of catch and release: “Hello there, sorry about that, let’s get some fresh water through those gills, back and forth—there we go, off with you....” This could well be the future of higher education.
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