Friday, January 1, 2010

SabAc Manifesto: Part Deuce and a Half

Frequently I am asked, "What is a Saboteur Academic?"

And the answer continues to elude me. Like the philosophy of Lao Tzu, or the rationale of Born-Again Christians. I can't understand the concepts, but recognize their existence. Similarly, I can repeat rote the teachings of the enlightened and the ignorant, but haven't grasped their meaning, or the workings of the minds in which they reside.

To quote-meld my point, let me wax Gilbert & Sullivan & Bryce Courtenay: "I am the very model of a modern major general. I've information animal, vegetable and mineral. I know the kings of England and I quote the fights historical from Marathon to Waterloo, in order catagorical." "Alas, too often, they are aided and abetted… with catch-phrases, dogma, and ready-made opinions so they gain information rather than understanding."

What is even more surprising is how common this is in the world. Sure, the idiocracy is full of depressing examples, but this particular brand of moronic is especially subversive. It hides among the shadows cast by monuments to higher learning, and infects the unprotected mind, forcibly opened or seduced in its naivete.

See, me and my peers are not smart, not intelligent, not even all that crafty, clever or cunning. We possess knowledge, but no wisdom.

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Hence the existence of this blog. To document the life of this Saboteur Academic as he experiences living like a leaf on the stream, as Lao Tzu would surely approve, and Jesus demonstrated, and all manner of poetical nonsense has attempted to capture in the essence of art.

From strange forms of learning to highly sarcaustic critiques of the educational system, and even occasional forays into the deep, muddy waters of socio-cultural-political debate from alternative angles. The Saboteur Academic must, above all, be committed to rediscovery, to the reshaping of perspective and the realignment of opinion. It does not do to hold the majority-view when the answer(s) clearly don't lie there. But it does not do any more to hold yourself a contrarian, if all you do is criticize without offering different thoughts in place. It is the dedicated pursuit of alternative knowledge which you must maintain. The Saboteur Academic exists somewhere in the blurred lines of a rainbow, taking bits and pieces from all colors, cobbling them together into something... strangely magnificent.

A Unified Theory of Everything.

When we get to these precarious heights of learning, words fail to convey meaning anymore than senses define the world around us. At the fundamental level which ironically lies above us (metaphorically speaking), simplicity describes the truth perfectly, but our minds fail to comprehend it in the limited spectrum of existence we can access. There is so much more out there that science has begun to juxtapose, yet still we are unable to perceive it. Radio-waves, microwaves, ultraviolet, subsonic sounds, whale-song, infinitesimal sensations like the smell of black earth and the feel of a kiss by some barely blowing wind.

It is to these that the Saboteur Academic wishes for themself. To reach the ultimate transcendental experience that can only come from an existential crisis resolved through metaphysical identity. Which is to say, embrace the mystery of your existence though you won't understand it (and so understand it). Which is to say, glory and revel in the activities of mind, body, and soul. Which is to say, be alive. Which is to say, so it goes.

Live as if you have no control -- because you don't -- and thereby realize the wisdom in surrendering yourself to the machinations of the universe -- because the only way to contain a mighty river such as Life is by guiding its course, not fighting it. And so by this harmony will come the control you sought for in the first place. This called peace.

Ultimately the Saboteur Academic will cease to be one after enough time has passed, because it is only a temporary state on the way to self-actualization. Fulfillment goes beyond a rebellious sense of education. But this is a step on the way to the top, or whatever way you're going. The point is the step, not the direction it goes in.

But like the subaltern, we still don't know for certain what is a Saboteur Academic, or who isn't. I can only list myself as an example of an identity that is ultimately self-described and self-imposed. A contrived or constructed self, an identity that identifies no one but myself. The most arrogant form of humbleness is to call yourself low when you know you are great, yet believe me when I say that I do not know except for an uneducated guesstimate.

This is not anti-intellectualism. This is not pro-ignorance. This is not about burning down the Literati or smashing the pillars of Academia. This is not about any of those things. This is about finally understanding that nothing can be taught, and woefully inept universities only make this more obvious. Professors and textbooks and standardized tests and general education requirements all conceal behind the mask of structured knowledge an absence of true wisdom.

We need to stop force-feeding ourselves with learning, and breath for a second! Figure out that your diploma is only a paper-ticket to a decent-paying job and a long life as the middle-class. Drop the collegiate sentiment because we're paying for an experience that ultimately doesn't deliver on its promise (which is education) and given instead a number of years to indulge in more post-high school-graduate partying.


To be a Saboteur Academic, for me, is to be what Socrates was for Athens: a horsefly buzzing from behind. To be a Saboteur Academic, for me, is to be climb through the window of a house when everyone else uses the front-door. To be a Saboteur Academic, for me, is to become so aware of what's happening... it's scary.

To be a Saboteur Academic, for me, is to seek compassionate understanding, and disregard everything that isn't.

And remember:


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