As is common with me, the conversation drifted during the interview, from what the president’s legacy might be to what it should be and why education in general was so important. Standard discussion material.
We somehow turned to the university’s wordmark: “thinking of the world.”. It appears on the website, on business cards, and everywhrere. It’s supposed to imply that we are a worldly university, that we are engaged in the world, that the world is not something abstracted from us.
But it’s an unfinished thought.
To drag a haunting spectre out of the shadows, Karl Marx wrote, “hitherto, philosophers have merely interpreted the world. The point, however, is to change it.”
SFU certainly hasn’t taken the idea to heart. We’re merely “thinking of the world” while the point is to change it. The motto of the university lacks action. It is passive.
There are a number of links between the passive motto and the reality of the university–I’m not going to say cause and effect, or even correlation, but the university seems to have been passive lately. Passive in our reaction to creeping corporatization, passive to insidious underfunding, passive to a lot of evil.
Why? Well, our letterhead proclaims the answer.
We’re merely “thinking of the world.”
The point, however, is to change it.