Harry Potter seguing to magical universities

Courtney M Eckhardt cme at MIT.EDU
Wed Aug 9 16:03:22 EDT 2000

In message <XoOQOU8WjHr7mUKcmYMgumbQSPqN at 4ax.com>, Melissa Proffitt writes:
>On Tue, 08 Aug 2000 16:20:37 -0400, Courtney M Eckhardt wrote:
>>These theories of learning seem to constitute a large portion of the
>>collective of fantasy ideas that people have been discussing here (in the
>>context of possible plagiarism).  Somehow they seem to fit better in a
>>semi-midevalist magical society.  It seems to me that all of that and what
>>Melissa said contribute some to why universities don't show up much...
>And I suppose if the world is far enough into the dark ages, the university
>concept really wouldn't exist for that milieu.  (I love that word.)  The
>university concept seems tied to the Renaissance-type culture of openness
>and curiosity, whereas the medieval culture depends more on the transmitted
>knowledge of the ancients.  Teachers in that setup want to pass their
>learning to students but don't care about the students doing anything new
>with it.

That was what I meant to say, except that when Melissa says it, you can
understand it!  <wistful sigh>

"...whereas the medieval culture depends more on the transmitted knowledge
of the ancients."  Yes, exactly!  The "dark ages" style of learning has a
lot to do with learning by rote and copying without really understanding
the subject matter.  For instance, one might descibe alchemy as the
intersection of mysticism and experimentation, where one only learns what
works and what doesn't instead of beginning to understand an area of
study.  This method of research, which is nonmethodical, highly
individualistic, often secretive, and possibly "proprietary", does not
lend itself to the university model.  If one takes this model of research
along with the pseudo-medieval magical society, one doesn't get

>That's just the *perceived* Renaissance and medieval cultures, by the way.
>If the reality was different from the perception, that's irrelevant.  That
>idea of the medieval era is just another part of the fantasy idea collective
>Courtney mentioned.

Oh, I did mean percieved- maybe I should have stated that more explicitly.
Sorry if that wasn't clear...

Courtney (Melissa agreed with me! :)
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