Originally posted on AGENT SWARM:
update: some people whose opinion I respect criticised the initial version of this post as unfair and homogenising. I have changed the title and slightly modified the first paragraph. May the conversation prove fruitful!
I do not like the term “para-academics” as it suggests a mere neighbouring but parallel postion in relation to academia, as if the ghetto were isomorphic with the official hierarchy and seeking merger. I find myself in agreement with R.Scott Bakker’s Wake-up Call, but I have this minor terminological quibble with his call to the “para-academic shadow” to manifest itself against the hegemony of the cronies. The problem is that lurking in that shadow are those who are isomorphic to and commensurable to the institutions stratifications and who seek to profit from the confusion at the expense of those who are individuating on a radically different model.
Commensurable cronies are both like-minded and in-group-identified. That means you need a conversion and an initiation (which some have called a “degradation” ceremony) to enter into intercourse with them. There’s nothing wrong with such groups as such, the more affinity-groups the merrier. The problem is unequal access to institutionalised respect, power, money, charisma ie to social, intellectual, and financial capital. Such groups tend to be closed and closed-minded and so blind to what others are on about. I am blind, because I have already been converted but conversion allows me to “see”. You can’t see anything without conversion, and there’s the problem: the world would just be an overwhelming chaos.