A tribute to and a lament for Marshall McLuhan.  Five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday, I present one of McLuhan’s observations and talk about its relevance today.  300 ideas. 300 days.  300 posts.

Store house or slaughter house?

Marshall McLuhan (March 7, 1969, age 57).  Don’t stop me if you’ve heard this one

The college President was overheard saying that the reason universities are such great store houses of knowledge is that students enter them knowing so much and leave them knowing so little.   That one always cracks me up.

Me (April 2010, age 57).  What is the role of the university?

At this time of year, when students at colleges across the country are busy studying for and writing final exams, it is worth thinking about the role of the university and what it is that students learn at them.  The serious side of the joke Marshall McLuhan tells is that what students learn at university is that a good deal of what they thought was true actually isn’t.  And as a result they leave the university knowing less, but knowing more.

What did you unlearn at college or university?

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading for this post

Letters of Marshall McLuhan, 1987, p. 362.

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Michael Hinton Friday, April 23rd, 2010
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Education, Vol. 1 1 Comment

1 Comment to Store house or slaughter house?

  • Sean Trainor says:

    Finley Peter Dunne “Ye can lead a man up to the university, but you can’t make him think”
    I spent 5 years learning engineering as an apprentice, I went on to spend 3 wonderful years at uni as a mature student with the main objective of getting a piece of paper. Forgot more about engineering than I learned but I had a great time.

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