Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Man, Unsouled

Mickey Craig and Jon Fennell ask, "Is love possible in the age of neuroscience? Or have we unmasked human beings only to discover that love is an illusion?" They consider I Am Charlotte Simmons, how man is but a rock, and post-modern learning and the university.
Very good.

Discussions - 3 Comments

Peter - I appreciated this book, and I agree with a great deal of this commentary. Charlotte’s world is a bit more homogenous than the non-fabricated, real world of most universities, but it must be, as a literary device that illuminates much of what is wrong in our culture.

I would disagree that the universities are to blame, however, though, as one place where culture is transmitted to the next generation, the university is a good place to find cultural trends condensed and writ large, as are art and literature.

Recently, I read E.M. Forster’s prophetic short story "The machine stops," written (if I recall correctly) during the 1940’s, about a future in which individuals inhabited little pods, and communicated with each other via "screen," and in which "actual" experience was believed inferior to a more distilled version of reality, passed through thinkers and media until it was sufficiently refined and improved.

Later, I looked out my window as pairs of passing students walked to class, apparently in groups, but all talking to distant companions on their cell phones, oblivious of their mates, unless it was to note how they disturbed a phone conversation.

Our entire society continues to deal with a problem that is peculiar to individualistic societies: How to be an individual without being alone. Intimacy and relatedness seem to be at odds with autonomy and originality and competition. We have done a terrible job of solving this problem.

Fung - Good comment. Good description of the students and their cell phones. Thanks. Regarding the pessimism....In Communist Europe, most notably in overly-pessimistic Hungary, just before the Collapse, this joke went around: One fellow bumps into another on a street corner and asks, "How is everything with you, comrade?" The other responds: "The situation is hopeless, but not yet bad." Then Communism collapsed a few years later.

Get out of my swamp!

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