Saturday, November 20, 2004

The Vagrant Scholar

by Skald

I was delighted to recently come across information about the Goliards (see posts below)-- vagrant scholars of the middle ages. What I like most is the term "vagrant scholar" as it evokes yet another possible arch-type for Hobopoets. Despite my semi-serious scholarly pursuits, I've never had much respect for scholars or academia.... but by attaching the word "vagrant", I think the term is rehabilitated. A vagrant scholar implies, to me, one who is dedicated to both knowledge and experience.

Most of the self-described scholars I've known (teachers and professors mostly) have been befuddled old fools completely out of touch with direct experience. But imagine a wandering group of scholars dedicated not only to knowledge-- but to TESTING that knowledge through direct empirical experiences. Now that's a worthy endeavor!

The vagrant scholar archtype opens up yet another path for would-be hobopoets. One mistake I often see among rebels and outcasts is the tendency to view their way as THE way. Those of this mindset declare, for example, that if you aren't living in your van, or jumping trains, or meditating 4 hours a day, or whatever.. then you aren't a REAL hobopoet. But this is just conformity and style masquerading as freedom.

The hobopoet life is not for everyone... quite obviously. And even among hobopoets... there is tremendous variation. Some do live in their vans (I did), some do jump trains (never have), some are highly spiritual. But some are part-time hobopoets. Some are permanent students-- vagrant scholars. Some are far more intellectual than spiritual. Some are earthy sensualists. Some are aesthetics. Some are poets. Some are dharma bums. Some are "homeless professionals". There are many paths to freedom and self-reliance.....

And so let's add "vagrant scholar" to our growing list of hobopoet archtypes..... wandering from place of learning to place of learning..... travelling nerds..... debauched professors..... worldly academics.... educated bums.....

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