Recently we have been making contact with various undergraduates. The impression most of them give is that they are determined to make things as easy as possible for themselves at university, without trying to make their work interesting, or to do as well as possible at it. Certainly of recent decades I have heard and read statements that might have been thought shocking before the onset of the Welfare State.
For example, one fairly well-off, upper-middle-class pre-undergraduate, who had expressed an interest in becoming associated with us, refused to consider working for us before college or during the vacs, although we said how badly we were in need of extra manpower. He said he could not take on either employment or voluntary work until he had got the full benefit of three full-time years at university. The attraction of which, according to him, was that he would not have to do much work while there. Presumably it was to be taken as understood that he would be able to spend most of his time having ‘fun’, as he and his contemporaries would call it. From what one hears, this would seem to include plenty of social life and getting drunk.
Nor, apparently, do students mind much about having to leave college with large loans, built up by not paying the fees themselves. Another pre-undergraduate was quoted in an article as saying that he did not mind about the debt which he would incur by going to university, because he would not have to start repaying it until he was earning above a certain level. This suggested the possibility that repayment could be avoided indefinitely by taking care to earn little or nothing.
I hear or read of many modern graduates and university dropouts who are disaffected by the difficulty of getting started on a career in the modern world. They are, however, not attracted by the possibility of becoming associated with us, where they could share in our sense of purpose and direction. In a way this is not surprising, as they have become identified with the avoidance of effort, intensity, and purpose.
Throughout my life there has been an almost universal rejection of my need to live with the maximum of intensity and purposiveness, and an unwillingness to accept that my life could be damaged by being deprived of the possibility of such things.
The modern educational system opposes purposiveness and favours its opposite. It has succeeded in creating, on a wide scale, what might previously have been described as ‘demoralised laziness’.
I appeal for financial and moral support in improving my position. I need people to provide moral support both for fundraising, and as temporary or possibly long-term workers. Those interested should read my post on interns.