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The Disorderly March XI(a)

December 28, 2010

Following up on a link in that article I wrote about yesterday, I visited Ratemyprofessors.com to see what they had to say about the teacher of my upcoming art history class.  I knew from someone at the U that this wasn’t a cakewalk class, and I found it interesting to see some of the comments.  He’s a hard grader, so “Say goodbye to your GPA,” or “take this class at TMCC.  You’re better off with that, otherwise you’ll get a low grade.” “Ladies and gentlemen watch your GPA!!!”

I think this shows another facet of the corruption of a real education that comes with Transcriptarianism.  In the abstract, that philosophy presumes that you got a 4.0 because you, using your native genius and zest for hard work, mastered every required and elective subject, thereby creating you, the Renaissance Person any company must desire.  In reality, however, it creates a system that discourages risk. You well know that you are whip-smart, and yet, and yet, there are so many other whip-smarties out there.  You can take that hard class, and risk the stain of a B or (prepare to fall on your sword) a C, but what then?  A Transcriptarian will see your C and say, tsk tsk, and pick that other whip-smartie over you.  So no matter how ready or willing or able you are to take up the challenge of a hard class, run by a hard grader, you don’t dare.  The competition is too fierce to take the outside track on the racecourse when the inside track is available.

I suppose in its most fundamentalist form, Transcriptarianism doesn’t want to hire anyone who could ever take a hard class and fail it, only those who sail effortlessly through every “challenge.”  But that excludes risk-takers from the pool of potential employees – and as we’ve seen at Google (the Vatican of Transcriptarianism) with its recent, failed offerings in the field of phones and social networking, you end up taking risks without knowing it, because your certainty of success at everything you touch becomes your downfall.  A risk-taker has to have a little humility, and a little uncertainty about their ability to create a successful outcome, to be able to weigh the factors involved before setting out on a new venture.  A risk-taker who has (horrors!) failed at something, who got a C in Art History, knows that not every episode in life is an orderly march through a series of successfully executed decisions. 

And then there’s the (remember when this was the point?) benefit of the other kind of knowledge gained by taking the class: a risk-taker who gets a C still knows more about a subject than someone who avoided the class to keep that perfect GPA.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. elisapiper permalink
    December 29, 2010 5:56 pm

    google is only hiring 4.0’s? awful!

    As you point out – 4.0’s tend to be smart people who might sacrifice everything else to get that A or shallow people who won’t try anything unless they’re pretty much guaranteed an A.

    And how in the world will they manage when they get out in the real world where they can’t control all the variables? And how will they deal with their first, inevitable, failure?

    I love the whole Star Trek concept of “Kobiashi Maru” (or whatever it was). It’s SO American / Jim Kirk to say “I don’t believe in a no-win scenario.” And outside of sci fi, so very wrong.

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