We bickered in the pubs over the meaning of the “Overman”, we joined together reading to one another poems and essays, essays we knew had no scientific merit! No methodology in there—wild, unrestrained thought which we bickered about, fixing badly proven ideas in clouds of smoke! I traveled across Novi Sad listening to philosophers in something similar to NGOs, well, basically, a union of students and citizenry…one could say, an academy? Then what was that building for?

Was it not to prove my inability to think? So, I stopped thinking as an intellectual entirely and would roam near the Danube, thinking like a barbarian, or even worse, as a thought criminal. I did exist, as a student, but only as something to be defeated, proven wrong which, perhaps was the proper way. The organizations which were outside of the institutions were all murky and dubious…organizations for rehabilitation of WW2 collaborators, monarchists, communists…not a lot of poets. Not a lot of playwrights, or musicians, architects. Everything was the grandiose history of everything…everything was history, and everything proved to be historical—nothing passed away. And, we were the collapse, us young men—if you discover one day your entire existence is wrong then what awakens is not understanding but spite. Spiritedness Plato spoke of, one becomes what is accused out of spite! What a mad place that University was! I always knew a dozen men who came there as something resembling liberals to come out hardened thought-criminals simply because anything else meant absolute moral submission to impossible demands by others. For me it was impossible to submit…but I also couldn’t be quite what was expected as an opposite.

Simply because, other men would be asked if they were communists. Their last name was the name of a great fighter…God forbid if you were a Croat called Ante! The professors would shield you while openly implying your name is a mark of a criminal—this very implication which you didn’t know of before, meant you need them. How clever were the philosophers! So clever was everyone in the University!

So clever that Belgrade’s University dropped entirely from the Shanghai list of 500 best universities in the world 100 places down. And all of it happened because a single researcher—a mathematician, of course—stopped writing research papers. Ah, but was this as important as preparing the next generation for the applied measurement of thought? To read books as judges, have the keenest political sensibilities for wrong-think, even if one’s spiritual capabilities collapsed? I am one of their great failures, no doubt. What did it mean all this poetry and prose, all these treaties and mad ideas if they didn’t have a practical application which we could use to prove ourselves smart? Who in their right mind would write philosophy outside of a philosophical journal, without five reviewers, fifty keywords, and—history? The history of the very thing you are thinking about. We are nothing without history! Did you know the University is X years old? Yes, yes, it existed even during—gasp!—Austro-Hungary! So we were Europeans even back then!

The democracy of education failed…young men would have none of it. The only types which now succeed over there are political young men with a cause, and women. And it is always easier to persuade women to nod for any stupid idea. They would chase after us, try to debate us but we were already beyond debating: with what knowledge are we supposed to debate? They knew the history of every idea they discussed but not the root while we knew only the roots and not how others thought about it, whether it is “good or bad”. It was important to have a sense of prestige…we had such stupid, worthless discussions but what else could we do? It was either that or becoming a foot-soldier of the liberals and nationalists. Was this not what the institutions are for?

Come—name me one philosophical journal from Serbia from the top of your head. Just one. You can’t, do those people even have philosophical journals? Do they even have toilets?

Your average academic from the Balkans is the toilet of foreign ideas. An actual European writes freely, openly, wildly, and flushes his thoughts no matter how demonic or sacred…then the intellectual peasants emerge with their scientification of what the man said, where, how, with whom and what for. And that is what it means to be an intellectual. Applied historical knowledge of past events in order to prove—what else—one’s ideas should rule over society. Young men—women are useless to build an institution on we discovered—will then issue a new, enlightened, diverse, democracy…

Or a sacred, saintly national culture where we will prove our great European worth of our native culture and how great it is. Did you know Goethe read our folk songs and—gasp!—praised them? This means they are high art! A great man said so.

Well what of us then? What will you do with us? We are not great men and you will not give us the tools to make us great. And if we become renegades your keen political senses will alert you and you will see fit to devour us through—what else—applied historical dangers. Approaching despotism, tyranny, loss of national independence, I have heard it all. I never met a man that can write however. Never met a man that can think for two seconds outside of the notion of applied history…

Ah, but I started writing of spite but haven’t given an example! This Moorcraft is a rather shady fellow isn’t he?

As us students were abandoning the University there arose an issue that you can’t build an institution out of women. Already most of the literature courses were all women, four-year cramming sessions of nothing. There is nothing more embarrassing for a woman than to be “out of touch”…of course there were idiots amongst them too, idiots who thought just because a stupid idea comes from Europe makes no difference and that it still remains stupid. And nothing is more stupid than a woman that comes over there, discovers she is oppressed and says: well, actually—my life is rather great. In Serbia it is usually girls that are expected to have a degree. Men? You’re strong, what more do you want? The parents pay the daughter’s degree and the daughter then learns her silly father is one of us…while she is European. Amusing if you actually hear what European women think even of our feminists…just like me, of lesser rank: cheap. Feminism is not for peasant women. If they go against the grain—they prove they are peasant women. If they are feminists—they still remain Slavic women, which just means they are cheap whores. And then there is another idiot in the pub!

Another fool who is against being educated as is meant to: as an applied political ideal. I was meant to battle away the eternal spirits of the past—she is meant to prove once and for all something else. We were conspiratorial renegades…the fact we were meeting was the proof itself. So, when I was accused of promoting enslavement of women I agreed. When I heard, in passing, how I am a possible governmental agent sent to destroy the University…? Because I read what we were taught and had to speak about it outside of the University. The intellectuals became our enemies—and we wanted to become intellectuals still. This was proof we were in fact what they accused us of: fascists, communists and everything in-between. Now, as I explained a little of the students, let us observe the academics…

Do you know any of them? Heard anything about them? Chanced upon one of their books, or poems, or something else?

This has nothing to do with these states being small. During my short stay at University I witnessed at least dozen of forced expulsions of nationalistic assistant professors, blockades by communist student-unions, physical attacks and brawls of ultra-nationalists against liberals and so on.

Many students were drug-addicts; girls were making money by prostitution. Even better—the books they read about, the theories of oppression meant they are actually liberating themselves from patriarchy. Even if their dull village fathers believed they were sending them to a decent place. “Intellectuals”, “University”, these words still carried a sacred glow of learning. In fact if I wrote this anywhere but here, who knows? I might even get prosecuted for intellectual slander and dragged to court.

That is what equality means in our institutions…for the lowest common denominator, cramming, combat and cunning linguists? The lack of discrimination—even against me—might have proven fatal. The single most useful thing was the library card. Exams were irrelevant. Because the professors themselves are about as shady as they get—great fighters for the national cause and democracy, no matter, that is their limit as intellectuals. Otherwise, I would have asked you to compare Serbian authors with Russian. And I can already hear the laughter!

And where does it lead, this nonsense? Do I need to explain I started to see that assistant professor as my own personal foe? And that he, likewise, saw other professors against his idea, as an absolute menace to society? Menace which has to be removed? Now I must explain removals.

Recently, a somewhat famous historian of ours called Milosh Kovich was sued by his own University of Belgrade and colleagues. The dean of the University sued him, together with half a dozen of professors over “intellectual integrity”, and slander. The peasants sure love their “integrity”…Do I need to explain that the University is also a complete joke? That most come there not to learn but already prove what they know? And this Milosh Kovich was adamant to rehabilitate—myself. That is, that corpse with my last name, and this was proof he is what they accused him of, a slanderer. Tell me when any of this starts making any sense to you. Who, then—would uplift me as myself? Can there even be a question that it must be my own hard work that offers nothing in return?

What are our institutions for if not to undermine society itself? To democratize it, and then accuse for barbarism which is an outcome of their design, as in fact, proof society needs rebuilding…and who will rebuild it? Who else but the very men who undermined it, the new type of intellectual. The type I couldn’t become, and perhaps even you, reading this, seek to avoid becoming. It has however marked us: we know precisely well the amount of accusations against us will rise proportional to our growth as free men: growth the University is meant to stamp out!

And so, once more we are back to renegades. In the Balkans, most of the younger artists have a wide chasm between them, a degree of differentiation which separates them. This differentiation is absolute, it is a proof one knows what he is talking about. It’s a degree of any kind.

Those failures, who would not go into the pen, usually flunking  their elementary studies would close themselves off for a few years and write something mad…political treaties, poetry, whatever. The other side—students who were properly cramming—would likewise write during their studies…then, a divergence would be felt. The ones without degrees became good artists, the ones with degrees bad artists but possible judges of the first. Then who educated the artists without degrees and how is it that those who were meant to be better have proven themselves worse? In fact, proven inferior, even with all their studying? Most young artists now have a year or two of studies, after which they evaporate only to return, crushing their former colleagues in skill…the colleagues however, with their degree are armed with a certain authority…

The battle begins! The academic failures crush the credentialed in execution so hard the future generations of students will be studying people with only a high-school degree. The academic class, petrified over keeping up with the world, being scientific and accurate, loses all creative power…academics in the Balkans write the shittiest of books. Professors of literature write worse than flunked students! Then, once more—who taught them how to execute their talent? I can’t mention a single one in recent years that finished his studies with a bad book, and I can’t mention a single good author that has the degree which (I reason) should make him better. Then, with all their talent, the talented get asked: “Where did you study?”

And this means, in this mad region, they weren’t “ruled by Austrians”, they are literary Turks, they are idiots and illiterates…the academics feel a sense of lost prestige when those below them are proven better. Again have our institutions been applied on the field of battle which sounds important to us, but to foreigners…so, amongst you, foreigners, I must ask: who educated me?

The act of overcoming is profoundly difficult. Not just writing in a different language but knowing that you can also jump into their murky waters. There are two paths for me: either write on my own language and get called a fascist, or write on English and get called something else, something which the institutions there deem dangerous. I however sense that the greatest proof against intellectuals leading society is not only the entirety of the 20th century but also, how they have turned all the institutions into applied tools of power. And how they will keep doing this—since anything else leads to a loss of applied power, and history, its use, and now morality, are meant to flatten the world for the intellectual bouts of academics…

I would go so far as to say the world was ruled better under petty despots and merchants. An intellectual kills more thoroughly and completely than any priest whose role he now took over but with far more devastating consequences. The University is a force of destruction of the first rank…even hard sciences will be crushed by the desires for remaking of the world but we must remake ourselves…the heaviest of burden, now monumental since those which would uplift us are thoroughly against us. We are to exist as fuel for their intellectual projects; we are history debating through our existence the need to erase ourselves! What else remains but to become a barbarian?

And yet this dialectic—which they claim is not the desired outcome—is the only possible outcome, if every institutions cause is to undermine and flatten. To battle it is to be proven precisely as accused.

Ours is a monumental struggle: it is to glimpse what comes beyond…This state of affairs can’t last long. This civilization, this Alexandrian tomb is thoroughly undermined in the very souls of ours…the democratization of knowledge goes against our institutions once everyone learns he is to be an effect of a greater cause. This cause—the overcoming of European civilization perhaps—is in all of us, as a constant battle-field of applied theories and ideas. It is perhaps our duty to be the sinners of a dying civilization—the choice is final. Either a slave or a killer. There are no decent middle-grounds anymore: in fact, claiming there is a middle ground represents one’s cowardice. Saying there is no middle ground is proof one became radicalized—which is wrong of course. Let us not say who radicalized us: let us not mention the intellectual’s name. Let us not observe even the ongoing enslavement of hard-sciences to this decree. We are a new type of sinners: intellectual sinners. Does your country have borders? Careful! Two steps further and you would carry a new meaning entirely…there it is, the final frontier, complete political comprehension of every human act! We are capable of grasping even the tinniest thought or sentence in the fullness of political application in the Balkans…what has changed is that other places are becoming similar.

This applied knowledge, this strangulation of an open human act which has no political meaning, means that the intellectuals proved equality is dialectical power of their own: and have therefore destroyed it more thoroughly than any of their opponents. In fifty years will we not roll our eyes when even hearing the word equality? Will we not recall who educated us and for what purpose? Was our education our purpose, or was our purpose to be purposeful in education…? Riddles, riddles…

The entire surface of the planet, turned into a feud of intellectuals against each other, for democracy or something else, indefinitely. Entire countries bombed or sanctioned over possibilities of historical “what if”, a complete loss of any human act which is in itself, neutral. Then, we must ask ourselves…who will educate us?

And for what? What remains of a philosopher if not a collection of accusations that he means to re-introduce something? From this century there will be no escape: nothing will remain neutral, all will be flattened and only then, will people look back and have the courage to ask the intellectuals: “So, when does your journey end?”

And we must ask ourselves, this new generation: when does our journey even begin? Are we not glimpsing it? The decay which they introduced, in order to prove their ideas justified, that by justifying they will end society’s peace. How to fight a man armed with every possible theory which proves he is right? Perhaps this is how barbarians get reborn. We have figured out they will go against anything if their opponent claims something. If a nationalist says, the sky is blue? Or that countries have borders? Then having borders become an intellectual challenge to overcome.

Which is why intellectuals, as masters, have already failed. We all sense their traps—prove you are not a slave by submitting. And so, I ask: how will we prove anything, without submitting if that is all that is required of us? Do we glimpse it? The moment of dissolution when the intellectual will yell: “Stop! That is not what I desired!” When society was already changed beyond recognition precisely by applying his theories? Have I too not been proven unfit to exist? Then, what is my salvation if not intellect? But this topic is coming to an end…


For all installments of “On the Collapse of Our Institutions of Higher Learning,” click here.

Previous installments:

  1. Part 1