Friday, May 2, 2008

High octane generation
"Dwelling in possibilities" Mark Edmundson is a professor of English at the University of Virginia. Personally I don't know any young people who come remotely close to the young students that Mark Edmundson describes. Mostly I wonder how my children's generation are going to cope with skyrocketing food prices, gasoline prices, childcare costs, etc. After a 25 year commitment to lowering the child poverty rate in this country, the number of preschoolers living in poverty has fallen by less than a percentage point and the statistics are comparing apples and oranges as the Dick and Jane family has become a bit of an oddity.
So who are these kids with infinite possibilities doing triple majors and pursuing infinite possibilities and choices?
According to Edmundson "If Socrates looked out on the current dispensation, what would he see? He'd see the velocity and the hunger for more life, faster, faster — sure. But given his interests, he'd notice something else, too. He'd see that by the time students get to college, they have been told who they are and what the world is many times over. Parents and friends, teachers, counselors, priests and rabbis, ministers and imams have had their say. They've let each student know how they size him up, and they've let him know what they think he should value. Every student has been submitted to what Socrates liked to call doxa, common sense, general belief."
I find it a bit interesting that religious leaders play such a prominent role in his assessment of who is responsible for this high octaine group who would need a 3-volume novel to record everything they did during their summer vacation. Did you ever see a crowd of young people appearing in church because they received a facebook message saying church was the most exciting of the infinite options available at 11 a.m. on a Sunday morning?

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