Monday, January 27, 2003

University: The opposite of diversity 

Cold Spring Shops carries news of the passing of Richard Mitchell, a.k.a. the Underground Grammarian, who wrote several books that would put the lot of us Scholars to shame. I remember telling Jack about the idea of university and diversity being opposites, and it turns out I stole Mitchell's riff:
That Dante will be that Dante because, like this Dante, he or she will be no respecter of diversity. The diversities among people are, in fact, superficial and trivial. To imagine that they are important, and that they go to mold nature and character, is exactly the root of the mental disorders that we call the -isms. To imagine, for instance, that black people are so constituted that they are more easily blown away than white people, and that that�s OK, and that the meaning of the Second Circle has nothing to do with them, a Dante will not allow. ... For a Dante, the person is the vessel of meaning; it is for the racist that the black person is the vessel of meaning, or the white. It is not to white people, or to religious people, or to Italian people, or to left-handed people, but to people that Dante can reveal the mysteries of self-searching and self-knowing, which is why a Dante has little interest in diversity. His interest is rather in what, how strange to notice, must be the true opposite of diversity. University.
It always comes back to Dante, eh, Jack?