Two hours in Saga @ Hampshire

The last two hours can be a great illustration of my life at Hampshire.

I went into Saga to have lunch. My advisor happen to be there, too. So we sit down and started a discussion about the end of the world. We both clearly sensed that the disasters are happening much more frequently and severely. According to normal distribution, many of the catastrophes we are experiencing now should only happen once of twice in several centuries, or in the whole life time of the universe. Financial Crisis, climate change, oil leak, volcano ash, deadly earthquakes, etc. Crises are definitely looming, and we are still asleep.

Even the hours before the huge flood, Noah's neighbors are still laughing at the Ark. I am looking forward to 2012. Of course, I don't want to see any people killed, but human as a whole need an alarm. We are living in a highly delicate world. Our prosperity is built on some fragile foundations. And a couple of bullets or a few shocks can totally disturb our civilization.

Hampshire is at a better position to get over the crisis. We have a lot of farm and water and squirrels. But big cities like New York might not be as resilient. Professor Klare said that the coming shock will be a test of resilience of different system and civilizations around the world.

So, we should all learn to farm and swim. =)

One good thing about the financial market is: if you are smart enough, you can make money when the market go bust---thanks to the derivatives. However, for human civilization, there is no financial innovation for us to hedge the risk. If the end comes, we are all over!

Then, after I finish my first plate of lunch, I saw Mark coming in. So I sat down with him to continue our discussion on Hampshire's governance and ASH renovation drama. No matter what, it is always beneficial for a young man to talk to someone who is twice as old.

Hampshire is big enough to have all the problems we will meet soon in the real world. And Hampshire is small enough so that we can make the change, hand-on! The problems we are facing now, is exactly the problems that have been troubling the greatest minds for six thousand years. And we still haven't figure it out.

Let me summarize the argument from the perspective of the administration: Hampshire is in a very dangerous position. We are living on the tuition we get on a year to year basis, so, in order to survive, we must increase our tuition revenue, which means we must get more full paid students. One reason that a lot of full paid admitted students do not come to Hampshire is that the campus tour depressed them, and in the winter, the walk from admission office to main campus is too long and too cold. Therefore, the ASH renovation is proposed.

In the above logic, a lot can be said in each step, and there are definitely better options. When I was talking to Mark, I was trying to understand what they think, and why they think so. I tend to agree with many of their statements, but from the same statement I draw totally different conclusions.

For example. Professionals are hired to do their job professionally. If we give the power to everyone on campus, we will hardly get anything done. This is a larger question of democracy. How much democracy is enough, and how much is too much? You see, Chinese government is doing no worse than their US counterpart. Hampshire has no time and money to waste, and we have to move fast. Therefore, someone will argue, we should just let the cabinet make the decision for us, and we will stay out of the way.

It will be wonderful if the administration is doing a good job. And yes, we have to move fast. But, a wrong move is even worse than "no move". When the administration is being delegated with absolute authority, they should be humbled by this trust and be extremely careful. They have the fate of Hampshire in their hand!

The real world is much darker. At least, here at Hampshire, we won't be thrown into prison or assassinated for what we are doing. And yes, the power we are asking for from the administration does not have much parallel in the real world. I am still a bit confused by the situation. What I do know is that we are facing a big question, bigger than Hampshire and bigger than ourselves. If we can come up with a solution, we might be a good candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. But, as Hampshire students, why not?

I think I should take a comparative political system course in my Div II.

Then, I had a very interesting discussion with John and some other first year students. I totally agree: Hampshire students are smart. Honestly, they are brilliant. I need to talk to more people and surprise myself on a more regular basis.

The best thing about college is finding your comrades. Someone call it networking, but comradeship is far beyond networking. Comrades inspire and challenge each other. They make each other, and raise each other up.

All these talks lead me to the question: what classes should I take next semester? Or, what do I want to do/be in the future? What are my advantages and disadvantages? These days, these kind of questions are driving me hectic. There are just too much to learn!

There's a lot I don't know, but here's what I do know: I need to survive. I need to be financially independent and politically safe. I want to be happy and make other people happy. Maybe we can go from there.

No comments: