College is a bunch of rooms where you sit for 2,000 hours or so and
try to memorize things. The 2,000 hours are spread out over four
years. You spend the rest of the time sleeping, partying, and trying to
Basically, you learn two kinds of things in college:
1. Things you will need to know in later life (two hours). 2. Things you
will not need to know in later life (1,998 hours).
The latter are the things you learn in classes whose names end in
-ology, -osophy, -istry, -ics, and so on. The idea is you memorize
these things, then write them down in little exam books, then forget
them. If you fail to forget them, you become a professor and have to stay
in college for the rest of your life.
After you've been in college for a year or so, you're supposed to
choose a major, which is the subject you intend to memorize and
forget the most things about. Here is a very important piece of
advice: Be sure to choose a major that does not involve Known Facts
and Right Answers. This means you must not major in mathematics,
physics, biology, chemistry, or geology because these subjects
involve actual facts.
If, for example, you major in mathematics, you're going to wander
into class one day and the professor will say: "Define the cosine
integer of the quadrant of a rhomboid binary axis, and extrapolate
your result to five significant vertices." If you don't come up with
exactly the answer the professor has in mind, you fail.
The same is true of chemistry: If you write in your exam book that
carbon and hydrogen combine to form oak, your professor will flunk
you. He wants you to come up with the same answer he and all the
other chemists have agreed on. Scientists are extremely snotty about
So you should major in subjects like English, philosophy, psychology, and
sociology - subjects in which nobody really understands what anybody else
is talking about, and which involve virtually no actual facts.
I attended classes in all these subjects, so I'll give you a quick
overview of each:
ENGLISH: This involves writing papers about long books you have read
little snippets of just before class. Here is a tip on how to get good
grades on your English papers: Never say anything about a book that
anybody with any common sense would say. For example, suppose you are
studying Moby Dick. Anybody with any common sense would say Moby Dick is
a big white whale, since the characters in the book refer to it as a big
white whale roughly 11,000 times. So in your paper, you say Moby Dick is
actually the Republic of Ireland. Your professor, who is sick to death of
reading papers and never liked Moby Dick anyway, will think you are
enormously creative. If you can regularly come up with lunatic
interpretations of simple stories, you should major in English.
PHILOSOPHY: Basically, this involves sitting in a room and deciding
there is no such thing as reality and then going to lunch. You should
major in philosophy if you plan to take a lot of drugs.
PSYCHOLOGY: This involves talking about rats and dreams.
Psychologists are obsessed with rats and dreams. I once spent an
entire semester training a rat to punch little buttons in a certain
sequence, then training my roommate to do the same thing. The rat
learned much faster. My roommate is now a doctor. If you like rats or
dreams, and above all if you dream about rats, you should major in
SOCIOLOGY: For sheer lack of intelligibility, sociology is far and
away the number one subject. I sat through hundreds of hours of
sociology courses, and read gobs of sociology writing, and I never
once heard or read a coherent statement. This is because sociologists
want to be considered scientists, so they spend most of their time
translating simple, obvious observations into scientific-sounding code.
If you plan to major in sociology, you'll have to learn to do the same
thing. For example, suppose you have observed that children cry when they
fall down. You should write: "Methodological observation of the
sociometrical behavior tendencies of prematurated isolates indicates that
a causal relationship exists between groundward tropism and lachrimatory
behavior forms." If you can keep this up for 50 or 60 pages, you will get
a large government grant.
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