Intelligence is a difficult thing to define, never mind measure. But we can gain some idea of what ‘intelligence’ implies – knowledge of fundamental principles; problem solving; analogical reasoning; a smattering of history, geography, numerology, maths, physics, chemistry, literature. But it’s not so much about knowing facts – although that factors in – but how it all ties together in the realms of philosophy and theology In the immemorial words of Cardinal Newman from his Idea of a University:
A truly great intellet..is one which takes a connected view of old and new, past and present, far and near, and which has an insight into the influence of all these one on another; without which there is no whole, and no centre.
However one describes intelligence, intellectual formation or education, I had little idea just how far we have fallen.
Exhibit A: A grade 8 test from 1895, and another from 1912, neither of which most university graduates could scarcely pass, if pass at all.
What happened? Well, at one level, everything – education included – inevitably follows the second law of thermodynamics, or entropy. Over time things get more disordered, worn down, chaotic, as people and societies follow the path of least resistance. That is, unless such a downward trend is resisted, with energy, discipline, and the putting-of-order back into things. We have taken the easy route.
Exhibit B: Even if we wanted to turn this around, many of children are too drugged to notice what they’re missing. This recent account from Adrian Gaty, a pediatrician, is something I suspected, but not quite of this magnitude. It seems we are medicating legions of our children into mindless, quasi-lobotomized obeisance, in response to the purported plague of ADHD, which Dr. Gaty posits may not even exist – a case of a ‘treatment’ in search of a disease. Why are we permanently pacifying, and perhaps mentally mutilating, our children with Ritalin? Are we treating as medical or physiological problems that are primarily moral, behavioral, even spiritual?
Taken together – the dumbing down and the drugging up – are turning swathes of young people into Borgs from Star Trek, or the somnambulant soma-tized masses in Brave New World; or Fahrenheit 451’s book-less hypnotized drones sitting in front of multiple giant television screens.
Pick your dystopia, but we’re heading quickly towards all of them, unless we resist, and resist mightily this downward spiral. Almost everyone under a certain age has now been indoctrinated into the ideologies of climate alarmism, transgenderism, racial antagonism, historical revisionism, even outright communism, and a host of other -isms, now embedded deep within their psyches by constant repetition and social conformist hive-think.
Readers of a certain vintage may recall that commercial from a long time ago, ‘a mind is a terrible thing to waste’. It’s one of the worst things to waste. The only thing more tragic is the loss of one’s own soul – but the two are connected. We must use our reason to reach heaven.
Some say that much of this is deliberate, for an ignorant and compliant populace is far easier to control. Certainly the past few years have given evidence that people are far more docile and passive than they should be, easily hypnotizable, and amenable to whatever suggestions are seeped into their brains by a ubiquitous media. We need not delve far into conspiracy, however, for we are often our own worst enemies, and what enemies there be would have little power over us, if we were to realize our God-given power over ourselves.
The moral? Make sure you properly educate yourself, and your own children. Delve into some of the great and good books, of the Church and Christian civilization; meditate, think and ruminate while you walk and go about your day; build your own home-curriculum, or find a solid, even if beleaguered, private school.
This is primarily an interior and spiritual battle, and by the grace of God, we can win. At least, we can help save our own souls and those around us. Yes, it’s tough to resist the wide and easy zeitgeist, but the way is narrow that leads to life, and to truth, +