It’s graduation time and I am more sure than ever that college is a huge waste of time for the majority of people. The price tag, the generic groupthink and the dependency that it creates stifles the imagination, curbs creativity and makes it a breeding ground for simple-mindedness.
Not to mention it’s a multi-billion dollar industry that lines the pockets of almost as many one-percenters as the corporate world does.
But there are a couple of things that are glaringly appropriate to tell people once they’ve gone through the machine, two newer and one an old favorite.
The first is a touching video narrated by Henry Rollins. I can feel the collective eye-roll. Just watch it.
He says, “You will encounter people who never have to pay in full. They get to wreck the room and never have to clean it.” That speaks to a lot of people.
The next is a simple essay written by Bret Stephens, a Wall Street Journal columnist who, until now, has never struck me as particularly wise. In fact, I’ve always considered editorial writers as lightweights. It’s easy to tell people what you think. It’s hard to report on something and present all angles. But Stephens does a great job on this.
He says, correctly: “In every generation there's a strong tendency for everyone to think like everyone else. But your generation has an especially bad case, because your mass conformism is masked by the appearance of mass nonconformism.”
You see it everywhere; we’re all different together.
Next is a commencement address by Chick Corea from 1997 to the graduating class at the Berklee College of Music. I’ve held on to this speech for a long time and pull it out once in a while to draft off it.
Corea: “The rest of the world wants everybody to conform to the beat, to be a nine-to-fiver, to get up and do your job and not get too excited about anything, and just agree with everything that's going on.”
It’s really true. The best way to fight that is to stay away and, as Rollins says in his little video, go after what you want with a monastic obsession.