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LostYonder wrote

Depending on the university, it wouldn't be that difficult to attend classes without being a fee paying student - particularly large classes where there is no attendance or it is done electronically. The professor would never know who belongs or doesn't. Smaller classes would be more difficult which is unfortunate as that is where discussions take place, where you can really challenge the warped minds of the other students and even the professor. Though some profs might not care, just come up with some story about wanting to sit in on their class, ask their permission and they just might allow you.

To get the most out of it you would have to lift the assigned books, but that would be quite easy I would imagine.

In the humanities and social sciences at least, most classes are about reproducing existing knowledge, playing into the capitalist commodification model of education where knowledge is reduced to a book published for profit by a corporation, despite the fact that many of the faculty are opposed to the capitalization of education.

There are very few classes these days that really encourage thinking and critical analysis. But there are some spaces still around most universities that are alternative spaces that attract those who refuse to move along with the herd. Many of them can be quite radical - but they are on the fringe of the university, not part of its central operating system.

Another alternative is to attend the many public lectures held across universities. They are free and outsiders are usually quite welcome. Many offer free food too! You can listen to visiting academics, various forums, workshops, and conferences on a range of topics. Most centers and departments that have regular talks have email listservs you can easily get on to know what is going on.