President Zimmer of Chicago has recently emphasized the culture of the school as one committed to “discourse, argument and lack of deference.” Therein lies the success of one of the greatest franchises of all time where fun indeed goes to die but it is often replaced by sheer exhilaration of discovering ignorance while seeking knowledge and accepting defeat in the presence of daunting logic. Such is the belief of this institution that it systematically seeks data that does not fit and those who chase impossible and even irrational ideas.
From inception, it was indeed one of the best investments. It challenged conventional wisdom for a better tomorrow and when its own ideas made it to the mainstream, it was not shy to change course, again. As demonstrated by the recent Nobel Prize to its string of past accomplishments, the Chicago school is not a monument cast in stone but rather a dirty canvas that invites expression. Here, proving what has been proven has infinitesimally less value than an attempt to prove what is not provable. Here, marching with the band in unison has less value than an unorchestrated run around the periphery. Here, the quantity of published research has less value than the one that goes against the grain. Here, women and men argue without the fear of revealing self-ignorance or being wrong. Here, time almost stands still when silence ensues after a probing question.
We are a society held back by dumb politicians and their handlers but we still have islands of freedom spread across a magnificent country, where those who seek to advance humanity could see rays of hope if they are able to look far enough.