“A Big Bang of the Mind” by Timothée Parrique – CEMUS Diaries

 CEMUS Diaries Entry - week 36

Timothée Parrique

PhD Researcher at AdaptEconII, Université Blaise Pascal (former Course Coordinator)


One thing I’ve learned at CEMUS is to say no.
No to injustices of all kinds,
No to heartless dogma and thoughtless coma,
No to unpassionate preaching and unreflective teaching,
No to conformity and compliance to rules that oppress creativity and suppress personality,
No to apathy about the state of the world and the state of knowledge about the world,
No to disciplined, facile research questions and disciplined, facile research answers,
No to prestige, ego, and the selfish pursuit of personal interests,
No to arguments of authority and to the rhetoric of power,
No to ideologies that see the future as singular and alien.
No is one thing I’ve learned at CEMUS; no as the initial spark of intellectual existence for it is not “I think therefore, I am”, but “I think NO, therefore I am.”

One thing I’ve learned at CEMUS is that we must protect the cultural reserve of revolutionary ideas that is the university. The university is a universe of thought; the ultimate bastion of intellectual freedom; a place that should constantly hum with a thousand nos.


Hear the distinct acoustics of a university building. Hear the union of two letters that makes tomorrow a limitless horizon of possibility and desirability. Here are two simple letters that make the university the engine of the universe.

One thing I’ve learned at CEMUS is that every new semester is a call for a radical deconstruction of the self; a utopian imperative to step into the unknown and the uncomfortable, to let our minds linger into the murky swamps of ignorance for a little while before returning from that voyage of discovery carrying the taste of that precious existential fruit that is knowledge.

One thing I’ve learned at CEMUS is this: Never leave a single thought unexamined. Never agree to disagree, never postpone a discussion. Never satisfy yourself with what you know or with what you do not know. Never let anyone or anything put chains on your mind. Be a thinker of the orthodox and the heterodox alike, of the pasts and the futures, of the mind and the heart, of the near and the far. Be a tireless thinker, commit yourself to what it truly means to be a student and embrace a life of exploration now and forever.

Every year at the start of the Fall semester I feel my mind shaking with excitement. I hear the distant chime of the cathedral’s bells, I smell the must of immortal books and the bark of primeval woods, I let my fingers run over the tired oak of a library desk and rest my head against the cemented witnesses of centuries of lectures, I place my hands against the cold, snowy earth and plunge my eyes upwards into the infinite. Every year at the start of the Fall semester, my memories of CEMUS start dancing again and fill me with the fire of a million revolutions. I feel the burn of a big bang of the mind; the exhilaration of a novel thought, the exaltation of a new theory, the excitation of an argument fought, the inspiration for one more inquiry. I feel myself expending in adoration of the unparalleled beauty of knowledge.

Like all of you my fellow travellers of the mind, at the start of every semester I am CEMUS again.



This is a part of the 25th Anniversary blog series “CEMUS Diaries: Stories from past, present and future”, where we invite present and former staff, students, work group members, associates, and other CEMUS friends to reflect on their time at CEMUS and shed critical light into the future. Read the other CEMUS Diaries entries here.

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