After explaining the rules I decided to do something I have never done in my 17 years as a college professor. I decided that, if everyone in the class could follow the two aforementioned rules, the entire class would receive “A” grades. There would be no need for any papers or examinations if they kept the rules all semester. I was creating a real utopia for the students. But it was also a kind of paradise for me since I would not have to grade tests or papers for a whole semester.
Just a few minutes after I had finished explaining the rules – approximately 57 minutes after the two o’clock class began - a student came walking into the lecture late. Naturally, I asked him what he was doing. He said he was there for the three o’clock class. I told him there was no three o’clock class – and that the next one began at 3:30. He argued with me briefly but finally relented and allowed me to continue teaching. I decided that - since it was the first day - this first transgression would not count. I wasn’t yet sure whether he was my student. Later, I found out he was.
So I decided to start anew the next week. But, unfortunately - just thirty minutes into my first lecture of the week – I heard a strange noise coming from a student’s book bag. He grabbed it, opened it up and began frantically searching for the ringing cell phone. He managed to turn the device off just before the eleventh ring. While several of the other students were scowling at him he sat through the rest of the lecture red-faced and embarrassed.
And so that ended our little experiment with utopia. And with it my chances of a semester free from grading papers and exams. It was all because one person could not follow a simple rule. He simply valued his own convenience over the welfare of the collective.
The outcome of this ill-fated experiment comes as no surprise to Christians and Jews. Both know the third chapter of the Bible teaches that even two people cannot follow one rule in exchange for a lifetime in utopia. How could 99 follow two rules for the promise of one pleasant semester?
For those who worship Karl Marx the implications are pretty obvious. The formula for a three hundred million person utopia cannot be found in a 1000 page rule book. We’ll just have to look for answers in Cuba. Or some place where the humans aren’t so self-absorbed.
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