The Exam

... EXTRA CREDIT: Define the universe; give three examples.


Read each question carefully. Answer all questions. Time limit -- 4 hours. Begin immediately.


Describe the history of the papacy from its origins to the present day, concentrating especially but not exclusively, on its social, political, economic, religious and philosophical impact on Europe, Asia, America and Africa. Be brief, concise and specific.


You have been provided with a razor blade, a piece of gauze and a bottle of scotch. Remove your appendix. Do not suture until your work has been inspected. You have fifteen minutes.


2,500 riot-crazed aborigines are storming the classroom. Calm them. You may use any ancient language except Latin or Greek.


Create life. Estimate the differences in subsequent human culture if this form of life had developed 500 million year earlier, with special attention to its probable effect on the English parliamentary system. Prove your thesis.


Write a piano concerto. Orchestrate and perform it with flute and drum. You will find a piano under your seat.


Based on your knowledge of their works, evaluate the emotional stability, degree of adjustment and repressed frustrations of each of the following: Alexander of Aphrodisias, Ramses II, Gregory of Nicea, Hammurabi. Support your evaluation with quotations from each man's work, making appropriate references. It is not necessary to translate.


Estimate the sociological problems which might accompany the end of the world. Construct an experiment to test your theory.


Define management. Define Science. How do they relate?


Create a generalized algorithm to optimize all managerial decisions. Assuming and 1130 CPU supporting 50 terminals, each terminal to activate your algorithm; design the communications interface and all necessary control programs.


The disassembled parts of a high-powered rifle have been placed in a box on your desk. You will also find and instruction manual, printed in Swahili. In ten minutes a hungry bengal tiger will be admitted to the room. Take whatever action you feel appropriate. Be prepared to justify your decision.


Develop a realistic plan for refinancing the national debt. Trace the possible effects of your plan in the following areas: cubism, the donatist controversy, the wave theory of light. Outline a method for preventing the effects. Criticize this method from all possible points of view. Point out the deficiencies in your point of view, as demonstrated in your answer to the last question.


There is a red phone on the desk beside you. Start World War III. Report at length on it's socio-political effects, if any.


Take a position for or against truth. Prove the validity of your position.


Explain the nature of matter.  Include in your answer an evaluation of the impact of the development of mathematics on science.


Sketch the development of human thought; estimate its significance. Compare with the development of any other kind of thought.


Describe in detail. Be objective and specific.


Define the universe. Give three examples.

... and a proportional response ...

Tickled by the questions and happening to need a way to test our early access to email (this was April 1982) I shared a few of these questions with a friend who has a way with words. I received an exquisitely suitable response.

From: ANAMIS 28-APR-1982 21:57
Subj: A challenge:

  • Take a position for or against truth. Prove the validity of your stand. Describe in detail. Be objective and specific.
  • Sketch the development of human thought. Estimate its significance. Compare with the development of any other kind of thought.

From: HAUER 29-APR-1982 02:24
Subj: truth

Truth is, needless to say, in the final analysis, an inautonomous yet objective attempt at an intellectual description (or framework thereof) pertaining to the perceived yet oft-dreaded numena doubtlessly responsible for the shape and character of the "universe" as we - some of us, anyway - know it to be or in some sense appear. More specifically, but rather oversimplified, we can judge the structural behavior of our individual cells in the larger context of their cumulative responsibility to the overall Plan. That this presumes the unprovable proposition of, need not be mentioned. Thus let us neglect to. Nevertheless, there is a basic tenet yet remaining which, though hardly applicable, certainly withstands the onus of self-consistency. It is to this larger category to which we must now turn to uncover our answer. As simply as. In this way it can be seen that a fundamental schism exists, yet fails to, between the explication and its primary isomorph: none-ness. The relationship of the latter element to our initial skepticism has now come full circle; we find ourselves in the possession of an irrefutable though banal conviction. The steps from here to an outright proof are small and graceful. It is hoped that the reader will take them gingerly, so as to avoid an awkward plunge into the excrement, but with an undaunted resolution. In the end, it is the level of commitment to this cakewalk which comprises - nay, suprounds - the numinosity of the true.