What weighs us down?
I think a recent phenomenon is an intense catering toward anxiety. You're made to believe you're really smart, but not that you're really competent. This gives way to intense lack of self-confidence. There's a culture on marks that's huge going into University - you need marks to get in to begin with! I'm teaching a class and there's an assignment due next Thursday already. I see the first-year’s freak out, and I tell them: you know what? In humanities you're probably not going to get an A, but how about you go through this with me and just see what you learn?
Students don’t seem able to deal with ambiguity and uncertainty. No one wants to acknowledge that you're starting with nothing and starting to learn. Students are taught to see University as a means to an end: a job. There’s this attitude that "if you work hard enough you're going to get the job". Students think, either I get the perfect grade or I don’t; either I get the job I want or I don’t! So they get paralyzed and they stop.
Recently, I would say the rise of social media has made an immeasurable impact. You can’t help but be inundated by constant media. Students these days see my readings and complain they’re too long - I don't care about "it’s too long!" - just commit to it - commit to slow time! How are we going to find ways of being in the world when we're caught up in the frenzy of information?