Saturday, March 6, 2010

* Trapped in the Solipsism of Youth

Carmody: Questioning the university culture
By Katie Carmody
Guest Columnist
The Yale Daily News
Published Monday, March 1, 2010

In “Questions worth asking” (Feb. 24), Adam Hirst ’10 holds up Yale as place where we “learn to ask,” placing us at the apex of a long tradition of liberal arts learning stretching back to Plato’s Academy. As a public school kid from the Midwest, I found Hirst’s column about as necessary to recognize the greatness of a Yale education as Frost’s comment is necessary to see that Branford courtyard is beautiful. Still, I couldn’t help but celebrate our successes with him. I’ve taken Chinese classes in Taiwan, a country that is caught between China and the United States on many fronts, and...

#1 By Where is Alyssa? 4:47a.m. on March 1, 2010

"four years of frantic, unthinking, climbing".

Perceptive article.

Look what happened to Alyssa Schvartz when she dared to be different. The debate she spawned should STILL be going on but it has been subsumed (no, gobbled up) by the "frantic, unthinking climbing".



#2 By Yale 09 6:06a.m. on March 1, 2010

Very eloquent, Katie, and well thought-out. It's a good thing to reflect like this while you're at Yale. You'll definitely get more out of the experience that way.

#3 By adam hirst 7:55a.m. on March 1, 2010

This is great and almost too well-written. I would like to share with everyone an article Katie sent me:

Also, want to have lunch sometime?

#4 By David 11:47a.m. on March 1, 2010

Thank you for saying what so many are thinking.

#5 By Pierson '10 12:08p.m. on March 1, 2010

As someone who consciously chose to abstain from "four years of unthinking climbing," it's really not that hard. Just stop being a grade-grubbing, secret society-obsessed, craven careerist networker.

Other things you could stop being obsessed with: Adam Hirst.

#6 By the other adam 12:14p.m. on March 1, 2010

this article is correct.

#7 By Yale '11 1:26p.m. on March 1, 2010

Bravo! I've thought this for a while and I can't agree with you more. It's very hard to figure out what you want or who you are in life if you live in "typical Yale" culture that encourages achievement and faux relationships above all.

Great job Katie

#8 By The Contrarian 3:36p.m. on March 1, 2010

It's not easy to resist grim pre-professionalism.

#9 By SY 10 4:39p.m. on March 1, 2010

It's not at all surprising to see that Katie Carmody wrote this. She is a beautiful human being and above all supremely thoughtful.

@5, the obsession (if it exists) goes the other way - and it should. Carmody has written 2 columns this year, both leagues above this year's staff columnists. The one exception is Shaffer (though he could afford to take himself a bit more seriously.) The rest can be replaced. Bring in people who can actually write and who think about relevant things

#10 By y11 10:12p.m. on March 1, 2010

You think awfully highly of yourself and our classmates, don't you? Amusing.

#11 By asdf 11:49p.m. on March 1, 2010

well said

#12 By You Know Who 12:20a.m. on March 2, 2010

Adam Hirst, stop mocking KC (and implicitly me?) and WRITE YOUR ARTICLE.

#13 By Katie Carmody 2:56a.m. on March 2, 2010

Adam, #3, I will have lunch with you when Abolafia has lunch with me (when the Messiah comes).

Jake, #5, you have responded to me asking for nuanced thinking with "it's not that hard". I'm not sure to whom the rest of your comment is directed. If it is to me, I am neither a grade-grubbing, secret society-obsessed, craven careerist networker, nor obsessed with Adam Hirst. We've never really talked but I'm sorry you have that impression. If it is to a more general "you", maybe the student body? Then I wonder when they became obsessed with Adam Hirst, and why.

#10, I'm not sure exactly what you mean and wish I could ask you directly, but I'll try my best to respond. In so far as I think highly of human beings and believe that their choices have meaning, I guess I do think highly of myself and our classmates, and all other people who understand that their choices have meaning. In so far as I believe in a liberal arts education, I guess in some ways I do think highly of myself and our classmates, just as I think highly of baseball players (I believe in baseball) and mothers and fathers (I believe that educating and raising children is important) and many other groups of people (though that’s not to say anything about their relative value).

In any other way, no, not particularly. In the interests of clarity and succinctness, some of my original writing was cut in the process of editing, meaning that some of the humor and qualifying statements were lost. For example, on the heels of “The world will always need successful, Blackberry wielding Elis, the future leaders of America, and many of us will fill those roles,” came, “(Whether or not it needs them, it will always have them.)”So I actually don’t think this column has much to say about how highly I think of myself or our classmates, but I also think that that is okay because it was beside the point.

And to many others, thanks for reading and commenting.

#14 By MW '09 4:50p.m. on March 4, 2010

"Thou didst crave for free love and not the base raptures of the slave before the might that has overawed him forever. But Thou didst think too highly of men therein, for they are slaves, of course, though rebellious by nature...By showing him so much respect, Thou didst, as it were, cease to feel for him, for Thou didst ask far too much of him." - The Grand Inquisitor to Christ in "The Brothers Karamazov"

Let us not think more highly of ourselves than we ought, yet men will only ever rise to what's expected of them. Bravo on a fine article, three cheers for high-mindedness, ideals, and heroes like you.

#15 By Hieronymus 9:00a.m. on March 6, 2010

Katie Carmody: I have a (brain) crush on you, and I don't care who knows it.

#16 By Hieronymus 9:13a.m. on March 6, 2010

The article you reference sheds light, in part, on the effects of a too-liberal culture. Eros crowds out Agape. Young men who might otherwise "bond" in an unshakable, brotherly love, instead may be led (encouraged, eve) by the current milieu to think that they "desire" one another. Eros reigns; Agape, destroyed.

Mr. Shaffer, sporting his marine corps cover, knows what I mean (PK, however, does not)...

#17 PK agrees 2:21 p.m. March 6, 2010

You are correct.I do NOT understand.

But I DO remember:

Both eros and agape, UNPROVEN by the passing of time, are forms of impulsiveness and exhilaration.

Friendship (eros or agape), tested by the passing of years, is closer to what is real than immediate flights of fancy directed toward carnal or cerebral subjects.

Sorry. But ya gotta get OLD to figure this out.

Can you imagine Romeo and Juliet or Romeo and Mercutio with wrinkles and folds of flesh engaging in such self-indulgent self-destructive behavior as they do in Shakespeare's Monument to Impulsivity, R&J?

Give Time time.

Until then you have little choice but to live in the room of mirrors and the echo chamber that is youth.

It's part of Nature's plan to get us over the hump to middle age I guess, otherwise we might all just wallow in depression.


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