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Women in the kitchen of science: on being excluded from the life of the mind.

13 Nov 2015, 03:01 UTC
Women in the kitchen of science: on being excluded from the life of the mind.
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

When I was in my late teens at university, one of my favourite books was Herman Hesse's The Glass Bead Game (1943). In the 25th century, in the European province of Castalia, there was an isolated, university-like community devoted to the life of the mind. The pinnacle of intellectual activity was the Glass Bead Game, an esoteric exploration of the deep connections between ideas. The scholars took little part in secular life, but politicians and wealthy people would attend the Glass Bead tournaments. This was the only point at which the chaotic, everyday politics of the rest of the population intersected with the great minds of Castalia.The book follows the life of Joseph Knecht, the greatest Magister Ludi, or master of the Glass Bead Game. Over the course of the book, he begins to question the value of the isolated 'ivory tower' life and eventually abandons Castalia.There were so many things about The Glass Bead Game that appealed to me at that stage of my life. I had, perhaps, grandiose pretensions of making great intellectual discoveries. Arcane knowledge about the nature of the universe seemed like the most exciting thing to me, and a community of like minds, all devoted to ...

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