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Friday, May 20, 2005

Boris Johnson on good form

For some reason I wrote this post when I read the above-linked, and then didn't post it. Oh well.
'As far as I can see we are all losing out to coursework - boys, girls, parents and employers. The whole point about the final exam, when you have to stuff yourself with coffee and digestive biscuits, and then run to the exam hall with your crib sheet bobbing before you - throwing it aside only as the exam hall is unlocked - is that it is like real life. In fact, people's jobs are becoming more and more like time-limited exams. We live in an economy increasingly dominated by the service sector, and everywhere you look people are required to cram, at the last minute, and then perform. [...] You need the fear to push up your brain's RPM, and it is only when the flywheel is humming that you suddenly see the connections, and problems disappear; and there comes a magic moment when the clouds in your head all part at once, and you can see straight up to the stars. [...] If you can keep retaking the paper - as you can with much coursework - you lose your fear of failure, and the whole thing becomes increasingly unrealistic. Because life isn't like coursework, baby. It's one damn essay crisis after another.'

'One damn essay crisis after another.' Marvellous! I wonder if there's theological capital to be made out of this? Cf the Ragemonkey relegation metaphor. In many ways Christian life is more like coursework (or, gulp, a thesis...) - it requires slow hard work and many small victories; and one must pay attention to detail. However, at some point the Invigilator will indeed cry, 'Stop writing!', and then nothing more can be added to the script; it stands or falls.