The 'Students Against Note Taking' (SANT) manifesto
Now this is very specific to a university student culture, but nevertheless it does have general sociological undertones. Warning: observations are generalised and exhibit certain presumptions.
Time and time again as a student I sit in these ambient lecture theatres and am witness to the hordes in constant scribble, no quip goes amiss without its written snapshot, no rant minus its paper engraving. So then eventually this populace is left with pages upon pages of scrawl, undoubtedly never to be even merely glanced at again. Think of it in this way: you receive ten lectures, each one based on a different subject/aspect/content, and then you must write an essay set around one taught/discussed theme, thus making all those notes from other weeks obsolete. This isn’t some abstract concept, I know myself what it’s like from experience.
Also, as anyone with history in a university environment knows, to attain decent and respectable marks you must carry out academic reading beyond actual lectures, or at least attach a luscious bibliography to all scholarly work.
To those who might argue that they just want to learn, regardless of academic context, I say that this altruistic amelioration is highly dubious (they’re probably lying), and if you’re truly interested you’d do much better to actually listen to the lecturer, fucker.
Although, I can allow for minor note taking in the right circumstances, for example, names that may be of use in wider research, or erudite books that could perhaps be useful in the future.
And that brings me to the central crux that listening and paying attention is much more constructive, and something that can be nicely complemented by additional reading of the right texts.
And so I’ve began the SANT (no Gus Van elements here) movement, in order to combat such pointlessness, and to try and evolve my fellow students to a level above the ingrained institutional thinking of high/secondary school. This, as all manifestos should be, is a pragmatic set of ideas for use in the real world. The key words are listen and think.
Post thought: now I know these teachings are very student orientated but it may be possible to transpose them into other areas, perhaps gardening, or pottery. If anyone wishes to try I’d love to hear a commentary of the results, my email is over in that side column.