Apparently, you are the best there is in your small field in the Faculty. There isn’t anyone else. But to be the Very Best some One and some Thing needs to recognise you first, because a tree does not fall until someone hears it. And so in accepting glory and recognition you submit yourself to the Institution and all it purports to stand for. If only momentarily, you become an organ, an extension. You are ostensibly the Very Best, Like No One Ever Was – but only if you play by Their rules, by “the” rules; only if you obediently dress up, line up, walk demurely, shake hands and take the photo, and walk off the stage. Just like you are expected to. Only the Best.
Sometimes i think we of the education farms have gotten it all wrong. Success and freedom isn’t in being the Best. Being the Best only means you are subject and shackled to the Rules of some faceless, cumbersome, incoherent organisation, latched in lockstep. Maybe freedom lies in standing outside and beyond the hierarchies and awards society throws over us like so many fisherman’s nets.
A short little observation whilst waiting to collect a prize at today’s FASS Award Ceremony. I speak not entirely from a position of privilege, but rather someone who has sort of lost the thread when it comes to winning awards. Winning the prize often means you have to be an obedient parakeet. Of course, you only get to say this having won the prize. If you don’t and you say this you could be guilty of sour grapes. But then again sour grapes are also important flavours in our lives.