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Fincel

2020-05-17

"fincel:

The financial version of an "incel" (involuntarily celibate, sexually frustrated). A typical fincel suffers from economic illiteracy, which results in poor career and life planning decisions that lead to a life of poor financial health. This financial dissatisfaction is often a combination of a college degree that is not marketable, large amounts of student debt, etc. Like incels, a fincel often turns to extremist political/social views that involve harming those that are economically literate and financially stable. Fincels resent society.

Jim: hey whatever happened to Tony? He was excited to graduate with an art history degree.

Scott: Tony lives at home still and works as an Uber driver and sometimes bar tends. He's evolved to a bitter fincel and hates successful people."

-- Urban Dictionary

I came across this word a year ago on reddit and it really broke my heart when I looked at the Urban Dictionary page for it. I am obviously a fincel as a person that went to an expensive private college and graduated with an art history degree a few months before the Great Recession, where I was unemployed for five years before I decided to go back to my local college and take computer science classes (I did know how to program, just not OOP). You can imagine there are a lot of regrets in my life, such as taking on 'large amounts of student debt' for a 'college degree that is not marketable.' The funny part in my life is that I thought I would do well at college and become a professor of art history. Instead, I developed a mental illness that hindered my work ethic to such a degree that my professors refused to write recommendations to me to graduate school. That was actually a blessing in disguise, as going on to a graduate degree in art history would have been a ridiculously bad decision. I know now, after much research, that the future career path of a liberal arts PhD is not a professor job, but adjunct hell. It became obvious as I was unemployed that there was no purpose to pursuing a graduate degree. If I couldn't even get a job with an undergraduate degree, what was the point of spending more money on my education? Sure, you read that you could only get a job at a museum with a graduate degree or the only good paying art history jobs required a PhD, but I realized it was baloney because if even an undergraduate resulted in no jobs, then a graduate degree would result in the same thing.

As I researched the sociology of liberal arts higher education, I decided I wanted to spend my training as an art historian persuading people not to pursue an art history degree. Hence this website, where I take a critical view on getting a liberal arts degree, instead of just spending $4000 getting a UoPeople computer science degree and researching your liberal arts topic on the side as a hobby along with working as an IT professional or programmer. Even Wallace Stevens worked as an insurance person. I don't think working in STEM precludes success in the liberal arts, in fact, it enables you to possibly even retire early through FIRE techniques so that you could hypothetically spend the rest of your life studying the liberal arts, if that is your true passion. Like Cal Newport ("So Good They Can't Ignore You"), the idea would be to follow an easy career trajectory that enabled you to be FI early and then pursuing passions rather than following your passions and, ironically, ending up a fincel (which, I promise you, if you are not from an independently wealthy family that serves as a safety net/trust fund, is extremely probable if you spend a lot of money getting a liberal arts degree). The nice thing is that STEM degrees set you up for a life doing anything you want. STEM majors can teach and research the liberal arts just fine. It is exceedingly rare that a liberal arts major can teach and research the sciences. It is because the liberal arts should be a hobby, not a career, because professions (that pay YOU, instead of YOU paying someone else) simply don't exist in the liberal arts.

"Art major huh? ill have fries with that LOL. im cool STEM guy im pumped to live in a world where knowledge of art & literature is punished"

-- FYAD Superstar @BevisSimpson

The problem is that the liberal arts have become infected with the superstition and paranoia that anything related to the sciences is horrible. This is a bit of a simplification, but in my experience it is true (I worked in the STS Department of a school for two years and if you don't know what STS is, it's basically anti-science 'humanists' (i.e. anti-humanists)). The sciences are so intertwined with the arts that anyone who suggests otherwise (and oh my god, in your classes will you ever read 'theorists' who proclaim science is patriarchal/colonial/whatever) is ignorant about the humanities. Unfortunately, it seems focusing on writers ignorant of the humanities is and has been in vogue since the seventies. You can graduate with a liberal arts degree and take two classes of science your entire academic career. That is a shame, because the best art is an expression of the best science. The people who don't know this or are brainwashed otherwise are the people that purposely wall themselves off from anything economically logical in order to "viva la resistance" against the patriarchal/colonial/whatever sciences. To have the humanities be taught as being anti-science is a degradation of millennia of work and research in the arts and sciences. The arts and sciences are the same thing, there is no wall separating them. The result of the seventies generating liberal arts PhD that know nothing about science, in fact are anti-science, has resulted in college being a complete waste of money for anything other than the STEM. I would go so far as to say a STEM major, as taught at universities, IS a liberal arts degree. That's obvious to anyone whose STEM department is within the school of liberal arts, but I mean that in the sense that a STEM graduate can do the same level of research as anyone with a liberal arts degree. Because a "STEM" degree is a "liberal arts" degree. Unfortunately the reverse is not true, with the amount of science hysteria in liberal arts departments resulting in liberal arts majors that are not scientists in the least. This is why no one wants to hire liberal arts majors, because like the definition of fincels points out, they come out 'turned to extremist political/social views that involve harming those that are economically literate and financially stable.' The brainwashing in the liberal arts departments is decided anti-humanists, and anti-humanists are despised by anyone with economic literacy or good life planning decisions. Is anti-humanism a good life planning decision? No, being an anarchist in a circle of humanists might look cool in your teens, but once the real world steps in, which is decidedly pro-humanism (almost to the point of fanaticism), you're going to be ostracized. And if you don't turn your life around by getting some economic literacy, or career and life planning, you will face ostracism for your whole life. The only job you will find is a job in... duh... the liberal arts departments around America.

Because computer science is the most affordable degree in America with the highest return on investment, it is my opinion that anyone interested in the liberal arts should get a degree in CS from UoPeople and get employment either as a programmer or else in a liberal arts job if you can find one. Trust me, you won't be excluded from a liberal arts job because you have a CS degree, if you continue to follow the humanities as a hobby. Reading is the best skill in the world, and when you are reading science textbooks you are also studying liberal arts textbooks. Ergo, a cheap CS degree from UoPeople is the most strategic positioning for having a good humanities career, while also having the benefit of positioning you for a good computer science career if you choose. Having more options is better than having less, in my opinion, regarding university degrees and fields. Get your degree affordably then move on to doing what you want to do with your life. Stop caring so much about degrees that you'd willingly become anti-science just to position yourself to have more success as a liberal arts professor candidate. What a crappy cult to choose to become a fincel for "success" in academia.

Honestly, in reflection, one of my proudest moments is when I flunked out of all my art history classes, because my ideas were viewed as dangerous (one my professor asked that I be referred to the campus psychiatrist because my essays reflected a 'disturbed mind'). If being pro-science gets you diagnosed as a 'disturbed mind,' then my failure as an acadmic art historian is one of the best affirmations of my abilities as a humanist, liberal artist, and researcher/historian. If being pro-humanism is heresy in the cult of postmodernism, then being removed from academia is the best thing that's ever happened to me to make me develop as a good human. It's amazing how I can flunk out of art history school but set every curve in the tests I took as a computer scientist. It's still me, 100% lepvcxvx, yet somehow I'm both the worst student possible but also the best depending on if I'm in a liberal arts department or a STEM department. And, believe it or not, my ideology hasn't changed since I was a high schooler and became a staunch secular humanist. Secular humanism has been my lifeline, my guiding light in the darkest of times, and I owe those brilliant men and women who challenged the status quo centuries and millennia ago and created civilization, freedom of expression, and free trade. It's nice I could read their books for a quarter at my local public library booktique in high school. I guess you could say I'm a historian of humanism, rather than a historian of art, if you need to understand my ideology and why I am anti-liberal arts degrees and pro self-education.

Self education is a bit of a new branch of humanism, ironically. For the trajectory of humanism a few centuries ago was establishing colleges and affordable education. I still feel this is the goal, which is why I discount academia as too expensive and anti-humanism, thus worth avoiding for the university (of free thought and expression) that is the internet. I am no happy that the internet is a better university than universities, but after getting a liberal arts degree I now understand why the academy is a joke, vampirically expensive, and a waste of time and money. It's because a coup happened in the seventies, and since then has been brigaded to the point that universities became anti-humanist and instead focused on "getting their own" at the student (and society's) expense. Nothing prevents exploitation, it seems, at university. You can't mandate that humanists be hired as professors. If anti-humanists can coup the university, they can and will do it. But obviously there is no economic support for it, and that's why liberal arts departments have to charge students so much.

Now the humanist university is on the internet. That might seem like a letdown to a few, but I actually view this as incredibly cool. Asynchronous socratic seminars might seem like heresy or folly, but asynchronous socratic seminars protect students from the authority figure that is the professor. By removing the authority of the professor, who in the seventies became a gatekeeper to freedom of expression and mandated anti-humanism conformity in anyone allowed to progress through the academy, the internet is actually continuing the centuries old goal of affordable, humanist education for everyone. It is silly to think that things can't happen in the intervening years to change the strategy. Because anti-humanists seem to thrive in the petri dish that is modern university, we have to do without the infrastructure of brick and mortar classrooms and instead rely on the infrastructure of networks. We are literally in an important moment in human civilization, where people will need to make the choice whether they want to keep funding this "gang of nihilists" in liberal arts departments or whether they will vote with their dollars and study online (for a couple dozen bucks a month) instead. If we stop condemning online learners with the stigma of the boomers against self-education and online learning, probably through a CONCERTED HUMANIST EFFORT TO EDUCATE THE MASSES ABOUT THE BEST WAY TO EDUCATE THE MASSES AFTER THE INVENTION OF COMPUTERS, we can succeed against the 'success' of anti-humanists. Fortunately, the last place anti-humanists can find real employment is in the university. Unfortunately, people still compete ferociously for these slim pickings. Until people realize that the university chews them up and spits them out, they will stop glamouring a professor as the best job in the world.

To anyone that makes web pages, the role of a professor is sort of a joke because you can educate so many more people through web pages than as a professor. That is what learning computer science teaches you, yet liberal art majors never learn to program and thus never learn that the best 'professor' job is writing code, not living the cush life of a tenured professor. Until we promote computational literacy as a foundation of modern education, and show that the internet IS the best university, people will still pursue the goal of becoming a professor. It's such a shame when someone dampers their free thought and critical thinking just for a better stab at the last piece of the pie that is liberal arts tenure, rather than saving their money and learning to code and fueling a career that can sustain any lifestyle imaginable.

My point in this is that if you are ignorant of how to study online in such a way that you receive a university-level education, it is worth researching self-education in this technological age. You'll find that the internet can bestow a good life rather than obligating tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. People centuries ago established universities as a place to educate people in the humanities and sciences regardless of wealth or class level. That dream is still alive, despite what you read about modern universities, because the internet is a university. The best university in the world, at the moment. While "The Internet" will never be #1 in the US News rankings, trust me that it is the best university in the world. You can read archives of books for free on Archive.org. Every science book ever written is on LibGen. Perlego aims to be a legal Spotify for Textbooks. Once people stop thinking the only respectable educational path is GOING TO UNIVERSITY, READING PAPER BOOKS IN A UNIVERSITY LIBRARY, and GETTING PLENTY OF SOCRATIC SEMINARS UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF A PROFESSOR, the more we can move on from this mess that is the student debt crisis and build a future that is more egalitarian and perpetuate education to those that don't already have it available, rather than promoting an elite system that is unscalable, exploitative of youth, and impossible to ship overseas. Once books are digitized and as affordable as a Spotify subscription, it will be obvious that anyone can learn anything they want (legally) online. This weird limbo state where self-educating online is illegal because you have to use LibGen needs to be gone as soon as humanly possible. It's an important transitional period, one as real-world impacting as the Napster wars, but once people (publishers) realize that things have changed because of the internet, we can move on as a society. There is no reason why in 2020 every book ever written shouldn't be immediately available on my ipad for a $15 subscription fee. The procrastination and pussyfooting we have from the publishing guild is a big reason why millennials are getting screwed by intergenerational conflict and yuppies who are so defensive of their luxurious turf. We know the internet is the solution to the problems faced by millennials, yet the yuppie generation uses copyright and laws to prevent any solution to our generation's problems. They will move on from college tuition and copyright law over their cold dead hands.

Whatever, I don't really expect much more from the generation that chewed up the environment and planet and instituted the most inefficient organization of society possible. They obviously, for all their college degrees, know nothing about science or civilization. That's my point, that all you have to do is look to professors and the yuppie generation to see that college educations are not only worthless, they actually create an entire generation of people that are narcissistic and nihilist and don't give a damn about future generations. That's what liberal arts departments have done to America since the seventies. Absolutely resulted in some of the worst critical thinking possible. If you want a reason to look to the internet for an education rather than colleges, just look at the generation that got a free college degree and ran with it. They have spoiled nearly everything they have touched. We millennials are doing the disaster recovery, and will be doing it for a good many years until they age out of their positions of power. Generation after future generation will have to prioritize disaster recovery for a single generation of people. The reason they are the way they are is because of their university education. Rather than bemoaning the replacement of brick and mortar universities with the internet, it should be seen as the best recourse for the problems we find ourselves in today. May another generation never do to the world what the previous generation has done.

If you are not familiar with humanism and are entering college age, I suggest you take a little time out of your life and acquaint yourself with some of the seminal texts. This is a great ballast to the waves of anti-humanism you will face when you enter college (if you choose to enter college). Don't drink the kool aid, don't become a fincel that hates science and refuses any job that isn't strictly academia, and don't go into debt to learn what you could learn reading public domain texts for free on your ipad. Reading is cool, but not that cool. Debt is a lot less cool than reading. The nice thing is, reading isn't contingent on debt, you can still read the same great books curriculum regardless of giving some 'academic authority'/credentialing service your money. Don't need to pay anybody anything to go to your public library. Humanities, given that it's public domain, is something to pursue as a hobby to your STEM degree, not something to pay for in hopes that by going into debt people will pay you money to read public domain books. They won't. Sorry! You need to work as a programmer or scientist in today's society and pursue the humanities as a hobby.


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