I'm having trouble sleeping at the moment. So time for interesting discussions with Astrid! (she was obviously delighted!)
1. The difference between art and religion.
Seen from the perspective of perception and communication, art concerns the drawing out from deep perception to communication; it concerns communicating things we don't normally communicate. Religion concerns using communicative practices (ritual) to enlarge our perception; to make us aware of deeper mystery which is beyond communication. Astrid equated this to focusing on 'higher' things.
2. Also we talked about 'free' schools, and the risks of removing the bureaucratic regulators in education.
Universities may be only about bureaucracy. Without the quality procedures, they have no capital value (the power to award degrees). Is the 'content' of what they do (teaching) becoming less important? Is it part of a general move from content to process? Astrid suggested that the EU is rather like this. There the regulatory processes fundamentally serve to prevent (armed) conflict. In a University, the regulatory processes serve to maintain the capital value of the institution in the form of its degree awarding powers. Where does value sit with that? Where does the teaching and learning come in?
But neither of us are going to get to sleep thinking about questions like that!!