“The ungovernable play of the enquiring mind”

Very Happy New Year to all.  Cambridge Libraries Conference 2017 and the Pro-vice-chancellor for Education Graham Virgo’s call for universities to act as society’s critic and conscience reminded of the answers Professor Stefan Collini had made to the “existential questions” what is the point of us? & what are we here for? (What are Universities For?).

Especially from the CRASSH lecture of 2011: “subtler means have to be found to manage the inevitable tensions between prevailing definitions of social purpose and the ungovernable play of the enquiring mind”.

No fitter time than the New Year to take such inspiration and aspiration to heart: “those of us whose lives have been shaped by the immeasurable privilege of studying and teaching in a University are not entitled to give up on the attempt to make the case for its best purposes and to make that case tell in the public domain … we owe to the generations yet unborn who should not be denied the precious opportunity to wander through the galleries of the human mind with no more fixed purpose than a curiosity to understand how such magnificence came to be and how it can be renewed and extended”.

As we renew our licenses for 2017 let’s shun the eternal sunshine of the spotless mind for the ungovernable play of an enquiring one.

tweeted Alex Tran on 2016


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