Studentship in Paradox

Studentship in Paradox


It is quite awkward to live in a society trusted to reflect signs of wisdom, blossom with true citizens leading a genuine lifelong quest, and realize, then, that a bunch of paradoxical behaviors over-manipulate day-to-day circumstances without even being aware of what really occurs around. The true image of the society is simulated. The first intention is unconsciously corrupted. Maybe people are so busy that they do not devote a minute, a little time, to look over some obvious details that could change the flow of life if noticed. They do not, eventually, want to devote that one minute. They are scared. The fear of facing the truth is invading their spirits. The moment is hard to understand, to imagine. No one wants to be judged.

Details always seem to be unimportant, but once you stop, sit down and think deeply about them, you take a good look, release yourself from the fear, you literally get shocked, perplexed. How could you? Why? Really? These unintentional small questions whip over your mind. They call you to examine what occurs around you, to perceive things from the other angle, the angle of paradox.

Let me call him “Chameleon”. He is a “student”. He is neither the infamous lizard, nor the lovely pet. He takes showers of different colors depending on his temper. He laughs, yells, cries and puts himself in a continuous senseless drama. Carmine from laughs and cries and bloodless from madness, he does not suffer from any incurable diseases, as I have anticipated. He wants actually to put himself in the chameleon skin. He enjoys insanity.

“I am here to win, and I always win,” he says. “Books and sheets are not my stuff. I study, I learn, but not as you do!”

Never seen holding a book, hardly passing a class, he is a guest in the university, at least, so far. “Chameleon” reminds me of some silly homework instructions I had, when I was in the fourth grade, if my memory serves me, “Cross the Intruder.” So, is he really that intruder I was taught about? The problem, thus, does not stand behind the question. What sounds weird in the story is that the problem is not even perceived. The normal obvious details are not realized anymore. “Chameleon” is seen to be a normal student in the perfect studentship framework.

Living in a university with thousands of “students” and hundreds of faculty is looking forward to meeting genius craniums, people with one and half brains, pure intelligentsias. You expect living in a sphere of books, encyclopedias and novels. Everyone, eventually, breathes knowledge. Everyone wants to leave the university gate holding a diploma in hand, a life safeguard that could empower him/her as individuals in a society that claims distinctiveness.

Yet, all these reflexive expectations and prior rational outlooks vanish in a blink of eye, once you click pause by the magical remote control, the one your brain already assimilated during a science fiction movie you saw years ago. Astonished, woken up from the same nightmare that holds every single student diary, you open your eyes and you seize the reality. A mass of chameleons darts around the campus. Some have just finished their classes. Some have not yet started them. Others, lost within their headaches, cry and laugh. Life! Emptiness! Chaos! Extravaganza! Bluish lips holding stifled white cigarettes, tired ringed eyes hidden behind the latest brand of sun glasses, corpse-like bodies exhausted by nightly insomnia. They kiss, kick and love each other. A mixture of feelings and sensations that become, with time, a pure confusion, overrun the atmosphere. People here and there do not feel anything. That is Ok!

The scenery, worthy of the best and most dramatic psychiatric hospitals, is not actually as expected. The cold walls, the great buildings and the place do not deserve this kind of backdrops. Even the inanimate would speak out one day from the inappropriate. Is a university a suitable place for “students” to run love, madness and addiction stories? I do not think so. The basic definition of a university in any dictionary is “an institution of learning of the highest level” (Oxford English Dictionary). The first impression this definition leaves me with is of a district or a kind of neighborhood with special features, libraries, classroom buildings, offices, dorms and more. And the vivacious core of that whole is hundreds of students holding books, bags filled up with paper-works, and pages and pages are turned over the ambitious eyes.

Isn’t it weird, isn’t it illogical to think about a learning place, an academic institution as if you think about a chaotic night club? Imagine yourself in a bar, and every client is holding a book or a bag pack, reading continuously for hours in an absolute deaf silence as if he is sitting in a public library. Isn’t it embarrassing to be the only one that wants to attempt a refreshing cold beer in this awkward atmosphere? Thus, are “students” in universities really students? Do they fulfill the real student format? Do they understand the real meaning of the word? These questions impel students to rethink their essential duty as knowledge seekers.

Yes, maybe students are lost in the university maze and do not realize their appropriate position. They are living their youthfulness and enjoying the moment. This is normal. Though, the much more normal act of studentship is opening one’s eyes to the real aim, understanding the paradox they are living in, and, then, pulling out the action of change into accomplishment.

El-Mehdi Iraqi