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9_A Letter to My Granddaughter About Dartmouth

Family Matters

Hello Kid, On the wall as I type this is a newspaper photo of you holding up the tickets, you got riding your bike on Fifth Avenue in defiance of a city ban. You’re grinning. So am L I don’t know if Janet and I are prouder of you for that, or for being captain of a national champion debating team, or for going to court to change your name from Gudrun to Kristina. A tie I think. Your contrarian ancestors are smiling, too.

You come from a long line of boat-rockers, it must be in the DNA. Your granny Janet’s clan was outlawed by the British crown.

Your great great granny from Glenorchy wore a top hat. And the immortal outlaw Rob Roy called your clan his own.

Janet and I were married in the famous Buddhist Temple near Columbia on Riverside Drive, the one with the bronze Buddha statue outside which sat at ground zero where the atomic bomb exploded in Hiroshima in 1945, yet remained undamaged. She was under 18 and in those days the law said marriage with a girl that young had to happen in a church or other house of worship, not at City Hall We were both unemployed, both far from home, and both broke so we couldn’t afford what the Catholics, Protestants, or Jews charged (we tried them all), but the Buddhists said to come on over, they would do it for free. Janet was pregnant with your mother at the time.

After we got hitched your grandmother got a job, but she was fired in two weeks because she tried to organize a union at her nonunion workplace. I got a job on Madison Avenue as an office assistant but got fired, too, because I couldn’t use a three-hole punch correctly and ruined copies of an agency presentation scheduled to be distributed that afternoon.

On the Italian/German side, your great great grandfather Giovanni, for whom I’m named, came from the family which owned the title, “Lords of the Straits of Messina” in the 17th century. He was hounded out of Italy at the beginning of the twentieth century for being a Presbyterian, a rabble-rousing journalist, and a Freemason in the days when none of those things were looked upon kindly in Italy.

Your great great grandmother, Lucrezia, who he married, lost her inheritance (a bergamot plantation near Reggio) and her title (she was a Contessa) for marrying him. They left Italy, came to Pittsburgh, and thrived for a while. Andrew Mellon, the banker, personally hired him to oversee the Foreign Exchange division of the Mellon Bank in a time when immigrants swarmed to the Steel City for work in the mines and mills. The Gattos were Caruso’s hosts when the great tenor came to town.

But prosperity didn’t last. Giovanni died at 49, from an excess of champagne, caviar, and high living. When he passed on he was Grand Venerable of the Masonic Order for the state of Pennsylvania.

Eighty-eight black limousines came from all over to his funeral, but Lucrezia buried him in an unmarked grave in Allegheny Cemetery in Pittsburgh. His crime? Moving his mistress Amalia into the family home and pretending she was the maid! Your mother has Lucrezia’s diamond wristwatch.

Your great-grandfather, Harry Taylor Zimmer, town printer for the river town of Monongahela and traveling circus owner was a rabid Republican even though·everyone in town was a Democrat. He ran for mayor every few years, printing incredibly violent attacks on his opponents. In 1948, the local congressman came to our home to beg my mother to have old Harry withdraw his support for the congressman’s reelection. He told mother he would lose in a landslide if people found out Zimmer was backing him.

I remember vividly the days of WWII when your great granddad would stand in the middle of Main and Second calling loudly for German victory! That made the daily walk up Second Street Hill to the Waverly School every morning with a dozen kids livelier than I care to remember. The only thing that saved me from many a beating was that everyone knew Bud Zimmer, Harry’s magnificent son, the toughest man in town and a demon with his fists, was my uncle. No. body cared to be on Bud’s bad side.

Bud went on to be a field officer at the Battle of the Bulge, driven around by his aide in the jeep “Monongahela” which appeared in several newsreels of the front lines to great cheering by locals. One of the men who served under Bud turned out to be industrial giant, Al Rockwell. Mr. Rockwell bestowed the managership of his vast plant near Cincinnati on Bud even though my uncle lacked any college training.

Well, enough of family. You’re a chip off the old block alright,


Dartmouth College

I’m not writing to reminisce about your ancestors, but because you turned 17 in March and I heard you were up to White River Junction to interview for early admission at Dartmouth. Just like that, your childhood is over.

Bud gave me some good advice when I was 17 with a head that was swimming with dreams ofIvy League glory. H~ said to take a few years off and work until I understood myself better. It was great advice, but I didn’t take it (wish now I had), and I suspect it would be hopeless to pass on to you, too, so I won’t. But I do want you to think long and hard about going to Dartmouth or to any school famous for its power to confer social privilege on you. It’s an illusion, they can’t, and even if they could, such a state turns your life into a prison, with . each hour of the day and each association predestined.

Don’t trust what your high school, or your friends, have to say about this - the latter have been brainwashed just as you have and the former doesn’t work in your best interests but in the interests of a system you don’t understand. Your four years at a special high school will have infused you with the essential gospel of our command economy - that college is the foundation of a successful life and that only elite colleges like Dartmouth possess the secrets you need. Never mind that nobody could actually tell you specifically what happens at those places, in those seats, to transform you. It must be taken on faith like the virgin birth.

As you await the college’s fateful decision you’ll hear friends say that if they don’t get the fat acceptance envelope to a prestige school they will kill themselves. Every year a few desperate souls do just that.

I remember back in the early 1950S when Duke turned me down I was ready to enlist in the Army until my second choice, Cornell, opened its heart and took me in. As for Pitt or Penn State where the common herd grazed, it was unthinkable for a snob like myself to contemplate. Such was the malignant influence of the country club set over my judgment.

Feelings like this are common now in our country, a clear sign our once brilliant uniqueness grounded in hard-nosed egalitarianism is dead. The philosophy abroad in American schools these days was best rendered by George Orwell in Animal Farm as a belief among managerial pigs that although all animals, of course, are equal, some animals are more equal than others.

If you feel that way, even a little bit, get rid of it as you would a tumor. It’s a moral cancer and it will eat you alive if you accept it.

The best part of America, our promise that everyone who tries will have a turn, is on life support because of the spread of this ugly stain.

Where you go to college, or even if you go at all, only makes a difference if you believe the spell which has been put on you. Is it money you want? In an hour from where you live I could take you to a common hot dog vendor who makes more of that than the mayor of New York and the president of the United States combined; is it being of real use to society? - become a pet sitter so that people can take a vacation without abusing their critters. Like voodoo, where you go to college - or if you go at all- is only a real question in minds bewildered by illusion.

That’s not to say education doesn’t matter. It does. You need finely tuned critical judgment to defend yourself in the dangerous house of mirrors America has become. It’s just that college won’t give you education. Only you can do that.

Be patient a little longer with an old fellow and let me tell you what kind of schooling I think Dartmouth represents and then what kind I think you need. You will learn how to game the system at Dartmouth, I won’t try to deny that, and you’ll learn how to conceal your pain and confusion. You’ll learn to think how and what the boss wants you to think, how to dress as the boss wants you to dress, and how to value what the boss wants you to value. And you’ll learn to believe that all those things were your own idea. It’s very subtle, Dartmouth’s teaching; you won’t even realize it’s happening.

The first clue to the change will be when you suddenly realize how uncomfortable your own parents make you feel. How you wish they would butt out of your life.

Dartmouth is all about contrived problems, nothing real. The “case study” method is big there, part of a system which deludes its followers into thinking that application can be learned by simulation.

A little of that doesn’t hurt, but a lot is worse than worthless: It fills you with false confidence that complex problems are fully amenable to method - like repairing machinery is - but when you try to fit human beings into the abstract simplifications of method you discover they have to be forced to obey the theory. And sometimes they force back. Iraq, Afganistan, Sudan, all gifts of think-tank methodology, and all impervious to solution by method.

At 17 you want a way to measure the advance of our own education. I’ll toss you eight yardsticks and you tell me where you are at the moment on the metrics of real education:

######Grandpa John’s Real Learning Index

I. Self-knowledge: This is the biggest prize of all. Without it you are lost and will flounder again and again through life. By now you should have introspected enough to know your own character: its proclivities, strengths, weaknesses, blessings, curses. How much assistance has your high school given you to accomplish this?

  1. Observation: Your powers of observation in any situation should be razor sharp; at will you should be able to function like an objective camera tape recorder sucking inaccurate data for later analysis. Can you “read” the primary documents and images from every age and place? Or must you take someone else’s word for their meaning?

  2. Feedback: Are you rigorously trained to pick up cues about yourself from the reactions of others and from signals out of the environment? Do you have trouble accepting criticism and evaluating its worth? If you rely on test scores and teacher evaluations as stars to steer by you are in for a shock when you discover discrepancies between what you’ve been taught to think and reality.

  3. Analysis: Can you take a new problem, break it into structural and procedural elements, gauge the relationships among those, reckon major outside influences, and do all this without expert help?

  4. Mirroring: Have you learned to be everyone else as well as yourself? Can you be a chameleon at will? Or are you trapped in your own tight skin the way little people are. Can you fit into every group, even a group of your enemies, opting in and out as you please, yet remaining yourself?

  5. Expression: Do you have a voice that’s your own? Can you deliver that voice with clarity, style and force in writing and speaking? Without that, your ability to recruit allies will be feeble, and you will likely be swallowed up by someone whose expressiveness is superior to your own.

  6. Judgment: Can you evaluate dispassionately? Can you see through falsehood? The society you are entering is a house of mirrors; little of what you see and few of those you meet will be what they appear. The most attractive personalities are invariably dishonest. How much chance did you have to develop judgment and test it?

  7. Adding Value: Do you add value to every encounter, to every group of which you are a part? Do you even know what that means? If you aren’t worth something to others, then truly you are worthless. That’s Kurt Vonnegut speaking in one of his books, Slaughterhouse Five, I think.

There’s more, but this is enough to start. You won’t improve your grasp of these things by hanging around White River Junction and getting :A: ‘s.

You are at present trapped in a labyrinth built by past generations; our entire nation, too; we’re in a maze schooling can’t help us to escape; the weakened nation you are inheriting is beyond school’s power to strengthen. Let me show you why a little:

Social unrest is everywhere, a loss of faith in American leadership among our own citizenry and all over the world. Harvard and Dartmouth (as metaphors) have a lot to do with that loss of faith. It’s been caused by a unilateral reorganization of work on the part of large employers who - I think it’s fair to say - own our government. A reorganization planned at our elite universities where life is graceful and all problems knuckle under to method.

This coalition of social engineers exports American jobs to fatten the corporate bottom line, and imports foreign workers to accomplish the same end. Multi-billionaires like Bill Gates - who apparently isn’t satisfied yet that he has enough money - are in the forefront of this movement. Then, there is a spreading practice called “contingent labor;’ where a company can save the cost of medical care, pensions, vacations, and the like by hiring on a temporary basis for the duration of a project. That has created a national proletariat with shallow roots in place of family, unable to plan any rational future because of job uncertainty and the need to be able to scramble wherever called just to subsist. Another big unilateral decision we have Harvard and Company to thank for is the idea of”Lean Production:’ Lean Production is more evidence that compassion is no longer a factor binding management to those who labor. In Lean Production, the”Workforce” is stripped to the bone. As Frederick Taylor showed an earlier industrial establishment, it is then scientifically squeezed for every bit of juice it contains.

The unilateral reorganization of work is the reason for the growing gulf between rich and poor in America, the deepest such gulf on Planet Earth. It is destroying our historic middle class, destroying the working classes, and has broken the safety net around the poor - which depends on compassion, not efficiency, to maintain. The panic you feel growing around you will only stop by political action, not by better schooling.

The New Atlantis

College was transformed into a training ground for work right after WWII, work that is as corporations and government bureaus and university departments define work, not as real people do. A few colleges escaped this transformation, but none you are likely to have heard of and certainly not a single Ivy institution or similar.

The new collegiate landscape followed a formula set down by Francis Bacon in the 17th century in his utopian fragment, The New Atlantis, a book which while unknown to the circles you travel with has actually been held in the same high regard as religious scripture by important interests for centuries. In The New Atlantis, Bacon demonstrates how a world-university can act as a stabilizer for wealth and power. Externally.

This substitution of controlled utility as a justification for college replaced an earlier popular. belief that it could be a place for reflection and pure intellectual development, rather like a monastic experience for the privileged young. College as utility fit a grander design, one of total and comprehensive social control, the dream of rulers since Solomon.

Under this new regimen which spread across the 19th century from a center in northern Germany, an intense degree of surveillance was put in place to make certain the common herd didn’t stampede.

Following the advice of two nineteenth-century Italian social thinkers, Pareto and Mosca, the best talent of the underclasses was spotted early and drawn up into the command module to rob the masses of future leadership. Pragmatists like Pierce, James, Dewey, and Holmes, the new Mach;avellians, were responsible for this.

Society slowly became a laboratory in which big brother or his technological equivalent was always watching, and where punishment was always close at hand. To reach the goal of scientific management, a managed America had to be made rule-bound after the , model of ancient Israel of Mishnah. But an impressive sophistication was obtained as well in the leadership of this project. If liberty was being curtailed in one area, license was encouraged in every zone of traditional morality. In sex, marriage, religion, family, the training of the young, an “anything goes” ethic was introduced and promoted steadily, a development which undercut any opposition from traditional moral centers by dividing children in school from their traditional sources of moral training at home.

I know how science-fictional this must all seem at 17 when personal realities are calling for attention in your life, but I have a staggering piece of symbolic evidence that what Bronx Science has taught you doesn’t begin to describe the reality you’ll be wrestling with in the years ahead.

School as Jail; Jail as School

The United States, traditional land of the free, now jails 25% of all prisoners on earth, 90% for non-violent crimes. With 5% of the global population, we are five times more eager than average to lock up our fellow citizens, six times more likely than China is to do the same thing.

How do you explain that, Kristina? Ask your friends and school counselors to explain it - they will look uncomfortable and avoid the question as if you made the figures up. If you want a definition for radical, here it is. Don’t let it sit with you as a conversational oddity, it is a colossal fact, it means something stupendous to your future.

Its ramifications are a good deal more significant for what your life will be than any college you choose to attend. It has happened for the same reason factory schooling happened.

Factory schooling replaced our historically libertarian forms of schooling at the beginning of the 20th century in order to standardize a kaleidoscopic pattern of individualized lives which tended to go off in many directions. A managerial utopia could not be made from such raw material; liberty plays no part in managerial efficiency families like the MacAdams, the Gattos, and the Zimmers must be prevented from reproducing their eccentric outlooks or an essential subordination could never be achieved. This is why school had to be made compulsory, and why schools like Bronx Science were created - to minimize the influence that people like you and your ancestors would have on the whole.

Far from being a screwy pipe-dream of your old granddad, or an ideologically driven phantasm of some cult, it is quite impossible to read heavily into history - even in its sanitized texts - without coming to something like the formulation I’ve just given you. For that reason alone, hard reading has been discouraged in the schools; if you read too much the official stories wear thin and blow away like smoke. All this garbage is right up on the surface to be seen unless attention can be diverted away by the irrelevant texts and procedures of schooling. Horace Mann himself called school “the best jail” to his financial backers, by which he meant that the jail you sentence your mind to when you go to school is harder to escape than any iron bars.

Thomas Jefferson was one of the few public figures who saw the dangers of a compulsory universal schooling scheme and was willing to chance it only if powerful safeguards could be erected to prevent the mental colonization it threatened. Those safeguards were only up a very short time before institutional schooling came along and broke them. Jefferson was familiar with Spinoza, the Dutch philosopher who designed systematic schooling expressly to put the minds and imaginations of the ordinary population to death. He knew that at best school would be about making clerks and servants, not thinkers and artists.

I spent ten years poking around the great school legend. What I learned is available to you without cost on my website, www.Johntaylorgatto.com where you’ll find as my gift, 330,000 words on the underground history of American education to supplement those in this book. The connection between schooling as you know it, including collegiate schooling, and education is mostly a masterpiece of fabrication - on par with the medieval theory of four senses of humor.

If you can force yourself to read Walter Lippman’s early books, like Phantom Public and those of Sigmund Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays - the man who convinced ladies to take up smoking (and did public relations for Adolph Hitler), you’ll be face to face with some of the ways this was done and the technicians who did it. Indeed, if you struggle hard to free yourself, Kristina, before you’re dragged any further into the abyss by Dartmouth, I have evidence that personal miracles are still possible. I’m going to take a bit of that evidence from a surprising source.

######The Great Imposters

The record of great imposters in recent years is one text you need to reflect upon for the priceless lesson it can teach about the supposedly vital training required to operate successfully inside certain occupations. Let’s start with surgery and “Dr” Ferdinand Demara, a “Lieutenant Commander” on a Canadian warship operating off the Korean coast during the so-called”Korean War:’

Dr. Demara found himself facing an emergency appendectomy in the medical office of a small ship in heavy weather, a tough job for a real doctor (and he was far from that), calling on all the sea legs that a naval officer had developed at sea. But Demara was neither a sailor nor a medical man, only a cheeky imposter who had done stints as an airline pilot, a railroad engineer, and a Catholic priest in his interesting career.

And yet, laboring under these handicaps, he was able to successfully conclude the operation all alone (he didn’t dare call for assistance), save a grateful man’s life, and receive the highest honor the Canadian Navy can bestow - an unfortunate conclusion to this wonderful story since the doctor Demara was pretending to be saw the press coverage and screamed.

The crime and punishment part of this story holds no interest for me so let me cut to the chase: All Demara needed to perform this tricky surgery was an illustrated textbook of how to perform the operation (which he found in the medical office library), some strong nerves (every imposter’s stock in trade) and an ability to read, interpret photographs, and follow clear instructions. Anyone with those gifts can perform much surgery (not all, but much) by the numbers.

Were we to unbundle much of the medical nonsense which guards the privileges of a dishonest profession, the standard of health around the world would soar - as it has in Cuba - while the princely incomes which make stock advisory services a fixture in the life of doctors would plummet.

At present, every serious medical condition on earth can be treated overseas in what amounts to luxury surroundings for about

one-third the American cost; state of the art dentistry is available in several places just across the US/Mexican border for a small fraction of American prices; and medicine of all sorts may be self-prescribed there for pennies on the dollar for what would bill at heart-breaking prices in the United States. Shouldn’t our schoolchildren know these things in order to become “informed consumers”? But no school that taught them would remain open very long.

The Demara story sticks with me because something of the same sort happened to me in the I980s in the year your mother graduated from MIT. We planned an expedition in her honor in the Mayan country: Palenque, Tikal, Copan, complete with volcanoes, fishing boats, orchid jungle, the works. But I ruined the trip by overplanning for contingencies; in a move to trick Fate I went down alone a month in advance hoping to drop off a wedding gift for your cousins Blake and Lauren who were being married on top of the volcano Popocatepetl (after climbing it first), and then take myself through the stages one after another to see they worked smoothly, and I wouldn’t bumble around like a jerk when the real moments came.

That dress rehearsal cost me my right hip. Soaring past Monterrey on the way to Popo, and after that San Cristobal, I ran into a gravel truck head-on at 70 miles per hour. Ay caramba!

I woke on the operating table of a charity hospital in Monterrey with my right hip being bolted together with three huge pins. And promptly fainted..When I woke again I was in a ward with roaches swarming everywhere and a sleeping policeman by the bedside - I was under arrest for “damaging the highway:’ Next morning the doctor who operated, who wasn’t a doctor at all but only a 23-year-old intern, was there when I awoke, with a big smile from ear to ear. He gave me a big hug and said with delight:

“Everyone said you would die! I had never done this operation before. But I had a German textbook with pictures of every step to take and here you are - you are alive!”

So when I read about Demara I had good reason to know it was true. Here’s another story to mull over: Suppose someone told you that with only a few hours classroom training that anyone would pilot a four-engine airliner with some precision? I know, I know, it’s crazy, isn’t it? Yet there is a big hole in the ground where the World Trade Center used to be to put the doubters in their place.

And another hair-raising tale, well worth the Googling. A few years back the legendary financial house of Barings was brought down by an absolute rookie at the money game, Nick Leeson. Nick hoodwinked the savvy partners at Barings into believing he was making huge profits trading in and out of commodities, while in fact, he was losing the company’s shirt. In fact, he bankrupted the firm.

Leeson, the absolute amateur, was able to circumvent every safeguard a major financial house could ring around its assets.

The Barings story brings to mind the spectacular frauds perpetrated by the reckless brain trust at Enron, once America’s seventh largest corporation and now defunct, and the rapid demise of Bear~Stearns, and Lehman Brothers, the fifth and fourth largest US investment banks, which succumbed to gambling with borrowed money - thirty times more borrowed money than it was worth, in Bear-Stearns’ case.

Isn’t it obvious, Kristina2 Someone with nerve, ambition, well~ developed observational skills, and some talent at mirroring can open the locked vaults at Barings, master medical procedures without the help of a medical school, fly airplanes, collapse tall buildings…and, if you remember Branson, build moon rockets without a high school diploma, or like the elementary school dropout, Edison, light up the world.

Kara and Octavia, the Walkers

Look at your own potential with fresh eyes. The October 8, 2007, is~ sue of New Yorker magazine featured a long account of a 37~year~0Id black artist named Kara Walker who had decided to take up art at the relatively old age of 24. The interview was conducted in a dimly lit bistro in Paris, France where Kara, surrounded by reporters, was being sketched by her nine~year~old daughter, Octavia. Octavia was so intent on her drawing that the article’s writer commented on her ability to concentrate under the conditions.

As the story unfolded, we learned that little Octavia had serious aspirations to a career in fashion - and no interest at all in pats of the head or”A+”s. She was her mother’s assistant in reality, in Paris to help with the exhibition, not as a cute thing to do. In one of Walker’s short films at the museum, Octavia delivers the voice~over while a slave girl is being pursued by a white man. She chants, “I wish I were white;’ and “Maybe all this,will dream away and I will disappear:’ Is that what you’d expect a nine-year-old to be doing. Kristina?

As I was reading the piece, the thin scrim of artificially extended childhood schools were invented to impose dropped away and I saw again, as I often do, the different world we could create if we dropped the pretense that childhood goes on very long past the age of seven.

The New Yorker article ended with Kara remembering an event that happened when Octavia was four - the same age as Branson when he walked about London.

Octavia was watching her mother being interviewed by a swarm of reporters when suddenly; in agitation, she called out in a loud voice: “Kara Walker! Kara Walker! When is it going to be my turn?!” Age four, remember.

That’s the point, Kristina. The school you’re attending. Bronx

Science, the college you hope to attend, Dartmouth, and indeed all schools, in general, exist to delay the ordinary - even the “bright” ordinary such as your Bronx Science classmates - from taking their turn. And the worst places seek to intimidate you into taking the turn they want you to take, not the one your own spirit would have chosen. It’s an obscene form of mental colonization, a reckless waste of your all-too-short existence.

Most of those who are seduced into waiting their turn, by places like Bronx Science or Dartmouth, never actually get a turn, they grow old and die unrealized. Don’t let that happen to you or the family ghosts will be very angry.

What Dartmouth and its brethren will do to you even more effectively than Bronx Science is to paralyze your ability to think for yourself, and do that enduringly enough that you’ll risk losing your precious turn. I know how hard it is to wrap your mind around concepts like this at 17 when the thrill of your independent adult life is looming. filling your spirit with exciting prospects, and it’s precisely because of your rightful need to be free at last that I write this way. It would fill me with sadness to see you escape one trap only to fall into another, deadlier one.

Let me give you some hard evidence that the people who built the

schools and colleges you admire did not have your interests at heart, but their own. No single group was more influential in shaping our institutional school ladder than the pragmatic philosophers of Cambridge, Massachusetts. And no pragmatist carried more clout than Charles Pierce, the eminence grise behind William James and John Dewey. Listen to Pierce’s mind at work in the 1870S as he contemplated the advent of forced schooling: Let the will of the state act, then, instead of that of the individual. Let an institution be created which shall have for its object to keep correct doctrines before the attention of the people, to reiterate them perpetually, and to teach them to the young, having at the same time power to prevent contrary doctrines from being taught, advocated, or expressed.

Let all possible causes of a change of mind be removed from men’s apprehension. Let them be kept ignorant, lest they should learn of some reason to think otherwise than they do. Let their passions be enlisted, so that they may regard … unusual opinions with hatred and horror. Then, let all men who reject the established belief be terrified into silence…

Let a list of opinions be drawn up to which no man of the least independence of thought can assent, and let the faithful be required to accept all these propositions in order to segregate them as radically as possible from the influence of the rest of the world [all emphases mine].

Kristina, this is the technology of modern management set down clearly for you to learn from. This is what John Dewey was after when he sold his patrons on the importance of reaching their ends through the means of schooling. And abandoning knowledge is a goal. This is the doctrine which drove William James in Principles of Psychology (1890), to assign habit-training, not intellectual development, the place of honor in schooling: Habit is the enormous fly-wheel of society, its most precious conservative agent. It alone is what … saves the children of fortune from the envious uprisings of the poor… It alone prevents the hardest and most repulsive [jobs] from being deserted. It holds the miner in his darkness. It keeps different social strata from mixing.

For all your present scrappiness, Kristina, you are, like all of us, largely multiple layers of habits. Deliberately indoctrinated into you by agencies indifferent to your dignity, your personal sovereignty, and your welfare. It’s up to you to hunt down relentlessly these “indwelling curiosity cut-offs” (as Kesey called them in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) and break their grip on your life. Then you will truly be free.

I want you to have a big, bold, free life, one lived with reckless courage, unquenchable compassion, and full reverence for the truth of things. The Dartmouth of the world are the enemies of truth.

But whatever you decide, your GrannyJanet and I will be with you in spirit and love. Good luck on the road ahead!

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