With the winter break and my schools service projects I have had some time to read and reflect on a lot of different topics in my life. And there has been a lot to think about: a new Administration entering the White House that is downright hostile to the humanities, some future committee meetings about directions for our Classically inspired missions and conversations centered on “what next” during the AIA/SCS annual meeting. A common thread through all these readings, reflections and conversations is the idea of the ‘Future’.
I really didn’t know how to best approach the future until I was reading a book about Teaching as a Subversive Activity. One of the ideas that I read about there is that of Future Shock, this idea is what you expected to be there in the future is suddenly gone (for any number of reasons).
When people encounter future shock there are several ways that it can manifest itself. A person can become impotent and withdraw, they could act as if nothing has changed and the future is still the same, or they do something and forge new paths.
There is no other way to say it but the future of academia is changing, for better or worse. I have a deep seated love of the humanities and could never find myself withdrawing from the humanities so withdrawing is not an option for me. Already many years I have been telling myself that the same jobs and honors that my professors had were there for me, but recently I have come to terms with the fact that this is no longer the case. I think I am finally ready to accept the fact that I am going to need to forge a new path.
I am not sure what this path will look like, but for too long I have stood at the crossroads. But to paraphrase Robert Frost, I am about to take one less traveled and I hope it will make all the difference.