The Travesty
August 8, 2000
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Ignotum per Ignotius.*
*The meaning of this is unknown.

The Editor received the following letter over a week ago, in response to the Travesty suspension notice.  The subscriber, who is a male approximately 65 years of age, has not previously submitted material.  This is not a submission, either.  It's just a letter.  We have his permission to print it.
I am writing to thank you for the Daily Travesty during the time that you produced it and to applaud you for your decision to leave it behind and to move on.  And most of all I am writing to ask you a few questions.  I can tell from having read the things that have interested you, that you are a person who is not afraid of questions.
Relevant questions:
After attending college, will you still not be afraid of questions?

Quite likely, you will say that you will not.  What makes you think so?

Who is more curious, a person with a college degree or an eight year old?
What is it about the present system of schooling that stifles curiosity?
Does the system reward answers or questions?
Which is more important tentative answers or relevant questions?
Does the system offer tentative answers or permanent ones?

On which floor of the universal elevator should I get off to find permanent answers?

What is the difference between schooling and education?
What does college schooling offer to you besides learning how to play the part of a student, and peer acceptance as a non-deviate from the norm after you have your paper at the end?

Are you afraid of the above questions?
If not here are some more:
Who is paying for your schooling?
There are only a few possible answers:
Your parents. Do they want you to: fit in; appear normal, but iconoclastic on the inside; appear iconoclastic, but normal on the inside; be normal-appearing and normal on the inside; (What does it mean to be normal? What is the norm today?) achieve more than they did; think differently than they do; be free to make your own choice; be fooled into thinking that you are making your own choice; set you free; continue to control you? In the great societies of the past, at what age did young males become independent? What is the relationship between parent and offspring in so-called primitive cultures after males are initiated? If your parents say that they want you to be free and well educated, will they give you the money that would have gone to the institution, so that you might orchestrate your own education? Would they give you half of the cost? What kind of education could you give yourself, if you traveled the earth for four years seeking out those who knew the most, taking leads from each on where to find the next and learning from all as you go?
Borrow the money: Is there any possibility in your mind that you could get a better education without going to college? If there is how will you ever find out? If you go to college and determine after the experience is over that you have been had by the educational establishment, how will you deal with the fact that you must work for many years to pay for your mistake?  How many people emerge from the college experience rejoicing at having gone into debt?  How might the money otherwise have been invested?
Pay for it yourself: How can you be sure that you are being honest with yourself that you are
getting the best value for your money?
A few more questions:
Who is right: Plato, Buddha, and Lao Tse, who claim that the essence of education is to eliminate the errors that one has already acquired, or the current educational establishment, which claims that education is a process of acquiring more?
How does a person who has spent his entire life being oriented by a consumption-driven culture recognize education as something that he is being asked to consume? How does one opt out from the consumer society?
Your zine gave me some hints that you did not completely approve of corporate America and the consciousness that it fosters. The educational establishment is many times larger than the biggest multi-national corporations. It is by far the largest industry in the world. Why do you think that the qualities of multi-national corporations that repel you are absent from colleges and universities?
Why am I going to the trouble of writing this to a person that I have never met?
Tentative answer: Three generations ago, when I started out in this lifetime, the world was filled with independent optimistic souls, who readily took responsibility for their own thoughts, words and deeds.  Today, after the great boom in university schooling (90% of all PhDs who ever lived are alive today), the world is in far worst shape than it was when I was born, the human race is in jeopardy of extinction, it is always the other fellow's fault and the underlying theme of almost every conversation is "ain't it awful."  I was seriously harmed by the schooling that I received at several universities and it has taken me many years to recover my ability to think.  When I see a spark of hope in a young person, I blow some truth at him with the hope that he might catch the flame of self-realization.
Thanks again for the Daily Travesty and my the gods guide you in whatever you do.