Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Polishing Up a Little the Post That I Was Bogged Down On Before I Went On Vacation

(I am still going to be effectively retired however)

...for "Religious Views" I wrote "I should have been a Catholic but society has convinced me that I am a nihilist and will never be embedded in the body of a living church." I know it is fashionable to think for yourself and not submit to the influence of mainstream opinion, and I did try to convince myself I could overcome it if I had inner resources enough; but I did not...

...for "Political Views" I wrote "1940s-1960s soft socialist. I do not want to kill business and industry entirely, but yes, I would like them subjected to some restraint, as I do not think the culture and mindset that their current extreme dominance encourages is having a good effect on the character and spirit of the populace." Maybe I don't have political views. I don't like my role, the way I fit in in this society as presently organized, or my lack of inner resources, so I suppose I seek a political solution for it, which solution, however, possibly not existing, cannot therefore be considered a political view.

Do I ever worry about how I will pay for my children to go to college? Surpisingly, not much. Mainly I suspect because I don't have, or anticipate having, enough spare money that I stand to be relieved of in its entirety. Those are the people who are the most obsessed about paying for college, the ones who would be able, or perceived to be able, to fork over a substantial pile of cash which would, however, demolish their ability to do lots of other nice things. I am not even in this category, so much so that a great many of these decisions are in effect taken out of my hands. Am I embarrassed or uncomfortable that my children will almost certainly have to apply for financial aid, even for a state school?--New Hampshire's state universities are the most expensive for residents I believe of any in the country, with the other New England states right behind them. For myself, yes, a little, especially as the good schools seem to me to increasingly act as if they are at least mildly irritated with people whose parents are supposedly educated but can't afford their tuition and come cap in hand begging for at least a partial handout for their (probably) similarly mediocre children. And I tell myself that if, when the time comes, I believe that any of my children are not legitimate university material who would be using resources and taking up slots that could be given to more promising candidates, it will be my duty to be somewhat frank with them about their intellectual limitations and discuss other avenues they might pursue, not that I know what any of these might be either. Of course it is also hard to see this as being the case, since I am still at a place in the world where pretty much everybody manages to go to some college, and most of them go to ones that, if not global powers, are fairly legitimate, or at least old, and would be recognizable to most of the general public for their sports teams if not their academics. I can see through the wonder of Facebook that in several families of my old connection that I considered to be non-academic and even mildly hostile to book-learning all of the children have gone to college, usually to a place I think of as not being terrible (though in the photos they put up the students don't look like they ever do things like read Proust or anthropology or physics books for pleasure--however, this is an entirely prejudicial judgement on my part and anyway it is beside the point). All of this makes it difficult to imagine at this time that my own children would not be able to go to some halfway respectable college, assuming they wanted to do so, because I was totally incapable of paying for it. I suppose there are a lot of people who are genuinely in the top 10-15% of academic intelligence being shut out of college due to the cost; but I have to say I am not really seeing it much in the environment I move in.

I'm not big on telling people that they have to study a certain subject, other than that it has some tradition or basis that compels some sense of weightiness and of elevation. I still certainly consider the arts and humanities, if taught and studied seriously, to possess these qualities as much as the hard sciences for most purposes of attaining wisdom and competence in leading life. I would be delighted for my children to take up any noble subject if they were able to do well in it...

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