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  • Leftists and the Pierian Spring

    Posted by Shannon Love on February 24th, 2011 (All posts by )

    Victor David Hanson’s has a good post on”The Rise of the Adolescent Mind” which discusses how much of the public discourse seems driven by an adolescent mind set of “I want it, why won’t you give it to me?”. It inspired me to write a comment that turned out unusually well so I thought I would repost it here:

    I think the problem with adolescents and Leftists in general is best summed up by Pope:
     

    A little learning is a dangerous thing;
    drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
    there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
    and drinking largely sobers us again

     
    When the mind starts to flower in late adolescence we feel empowered and wise because we compare our new found level of knowledge not with the sum of all knowledge but only relative to that which we personally knew a few months or years before. We feel that since we know so much more than we did, we must know all we truly need to know. This trait in youths has been noted since classical times. Usually, we only lose that arrogance when we graduate to life’s only true school, the school of hard knocks. The teachers in the school of hard knocks shove our heads under the water of the Pierian spring and force us drink or drown.
     
    Unfortunately, many people never attend the school of hard knocks and never take those very vital deep draughts of experience. For those who spend their entire lives in government, activism or academia, inescapable physical reality never intrudes to disrupt the intellectual elegance of their fanciful hypothesis. Facts and physical limitations become strange mythological things spoken of only by the ignorant pagans in business, technology or the military. We grow up only when we have to. These people’s intellects and emotion freeze in late adolescence because they are never challenged to grow up.
     
    A true education teaches humility. In a real education, every new thing we learn only expands the radius of our ignorance allowing to see how much more of the world actually exist and how very little of it our personal real knowledge covers.
     
    A failed education, an indoctrination, teaches arrogance. It teaches that all that one needs to know lies within the circumference of the ideology. Anything outside the circumference is trivial. That is what we see in various collectivist ideologies. “Our knowledge is so vast and so encompassing that we have right, even the duty, to impose our will on everyone for the collective good.”
     
    Perhaps we could find the Perian spring, bottle the water and market as something rich people drink to help the environment. Only then can we force our hoards of adolescents to imbibe the wisdom they truly need.