Another brief one, which seems to be the new norm. Lucky you!
I am a different person from the one who staggered into graduate school in 1981 and stumbled out in 1988. In one sense this is a banality, but I mean something different.
That is, supposing one is the recipient of an extensive post-secondary education -- particularly in the humanities -- this should presumably help one actualize and perfect whatever nascent intellectual gifts, virtues, and potentials one possesses.
I remember the Happy Acres Guy using the analogy of a sports camp: attending one isn't going to turn the non-athlete into an athlete; rather, it's purpose is to make the athlete better: it can perfect one's skills, not conjure them
Same with college. There's a reason why it cranks out credentialed idiots by the thousands: because these idiots were never intellectual athletes to begin with. Or maybe you've never read Michelle Obama's master's thesis.
Now that any idiot can graduate college, one supposes that the purpose of graduate degree is to distinguish one from the common idiot with a BA. But one has only to have attended graduate school to know this isn't true.
It reminds me of a recent column by Roger Kimball about the ludicrous Doctor Jill Biden. Her silly title "communicates less honor than affectation and social insecurity":
Ithe United States, anyway, it is generally understood, though seldom mentioned in polite society, that the less distinguished one’s academic institution, the more likely one will insist upon the honorific “Dr.” And that’s for Ph. degrees. The degree of Ed. officially a “doctor of education” -- is, let’s be candid, more a certificate than a degree. Yes, one is entitled to the title “Dr.” But it’s only a short step, or half step, up from those entertainers and purveyors of boutique soaps who style themselves “Dr.” or “Doc”: “Dr. Bronner,” for example, or “Doc Watson.”
Now, Doc, that's a name no one would self-apply where I come from. We all know what an actual doctor is, which is why we respect them. An EdD or PhD would be arrested for attempting what real doctors can do, e.g., give you drugs, cut you open, or see you naked.
But here again, this isn't my point. Let's put it this way: my son, who is 15 years old, watches Prager U videos as part of his homeschooling. As such, he knows more about political philosophy, or the Constitution, or the history of the Middle East, or the reality of sexual differences, or basic economics, or race, than I did in 1988, when I became a fully credentialed idiot.
Supposing we could beam my son back to 1988 and engage the old me in debate, he would easily trounce me. But would I have recognized my humiliation at the hands of a mere teen?
No. Way. I would have presumed to correct him at every turn, no doubt adopting my best superior tone while gently mocking his naiveté -- or, more likely, arrogantly steamrolling it. Even imagining the exchange actually makes me a bit nauseous.
There but for the grace of God grew I.
Along these lines, I want to pick up where we left off in the previous post, because it touches on a fundamental principle of human psychology of which I was totally ignorant in 1988 -- after having been certified as a Doctor of the subject on the way to being a licensed Healer of Souls! The thought of which makes me a bit more nauseous.
A Catholic Christian Meta-Model of the Person reminds us that the term fall is "a conceptual metaphor" signifying "an ontological change in humanity." This change redounds to "the loss of an original state" of -- in our words -- freely chosen conformity to the divine principle and person.
Now, this seems like a pretty important piece of information to leave out. Sure, you could say this is just a crazy Christian theory, but believe me, we learned plenty of other crazy theories from behaviorism at one end to Freudianism at the other and existential psychology in between.
What else do these boys (in the CC M-M of the P) have to say about the subject?
Every worldview and value system has an account of the origin and extent of human weakness and disorder.
Quite true, except it is often implicit. But everyone can see that there's something wrong with the humans. For the Marxist it is private property. For the critical race theorist it is whiteness. For the feminist it is men. For Democrats it is Trump.
When I completed graduate school, I would have no doubt pointed to the ins, outs, and what-have-yous of childhood attachment. I suppose I still do, but in a much wider and deeper psycho-spiritual context.
For example, I wouldn't have recognized homeschooling as such a critical prolongation of this process. But this is precisely why my 15 year old son could trounce his 32 year old father in a debate.
Some more critical information from the book: the principle of fallenness accounts for a dis-ordering of four particular human capacities:
(a) reason remains wounded by ignorance and in need of the virtue of practical wisdom; (b) the will remains wounded by malice and in need of the virtue of justice; (c) the emotions related to the good that is difficult to reach or the evil that is difficult to avoid remain wounded by our weakness and in need of the virtue of fortitude; and (d) the emotions related to attraction to a good or repulsion of something that is evil remain wounded by disordered desire and in need of the virtue of temperance or moderation.
So when we say that man is fallen, we can point to certain evident consequences, i.e., the relative absence of prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance; man as we find him is more or less imprudent, unjust, weak-willed (or willful), and intemperate. And a real doctor of psychology would assist the patient in precisely these dimensions.
Now, as alluded to in the second paragraph, a higher education in general should at least help to actualize a bit of our human potential in these same areas. I suppose it does, in that it renders its beneficiaries as temperate as a Paul Krugman, as prudent as a Cornell West, as just as a Karl Marx, and as brave your average college dean.