01 October 2012

Knowledge of Evil

I was so sheltered and naive as a freshman that I can barely believe I am that same person today. And I just wish someone had told me that the reality of hooking up is monumentally different from what I was expecting. I wish someone had told me that you don’t get into a relationship by meeting someone on the Street and taking him home or that they won’t even text you the next day. I wish someone had told me that when a guy says, “Hey, I want to show you this really funny video, but it’s in my room,” he’s going to show you much more than a video. And the awkwardness that happens when your hookup flat out pretends you don’t exist the day after? No one warned me about that!

Rod Dreher weighs in:

Hmm. I’m betting that they did warn this student about it, but he or she didn’t listen, either because the student didn’t hear them, or because the student thought they must be sex-hating Christianists or something. Anyway, I hope that’s true. The thought that this student never heard a meaningful voice warning against the hook-up culture is incredibly depressing.

My guess is that the student in question was warned, but her hamster managed to not hear the warnings.  However, I think it’s plausible that the parents of the Princeton grad did not do anything to prepare their daughter for the hook-up culture commonly found at college.

If the parents in question were strongly religious, it’s possible that they could have completely sheltered their children from the reality of the world.  I’ve personally witnessed this among a decent number of home schooled families, wherein parents made a point of hiding the dark elements of the world from their children.  While the intent is likely laudable, the reality can be retarding, in that ignorance of the nature of evil and temptation can lead to one being ill-equipped to recognize and deal with evil when it presents itself.

In the specific case girls, those who grow up in incredibly sheltered homes may never be taught about the basics of attraction and exploitation.  Thus, they may end up being taken for a ride the first time they meet an alpha male at college, and get caught up in their emotions without once realizing what is happening.  Because they don’t know what they find attractive about men, and because they don’t know how some men (PUAs, among others) attempt to exploit this, they may find themselves being seduced by cads without even knowing what they’re doing to cause this problem, and thus find it difficult to stop the downward spiral of hooking up.

Now, this is not to suggest that knowledge of evil is a panacea that precludes sin, but there are instances where understanding the darker portions of the human psyche can be useful in preventing succumbing to one’s self-destructive impulses.  Therefore, parents would do well to not overly shelter their children from the darkness of the world.  The darkness exists, and no amount of pretending will change that fact.  Therefore, it’s best to be somewhat familiar with the darkness of the world, especially if one is going to be released into it one day.

At any rate, my point in all this is that parents that shelter their children from the more unsavory aspects of this world may actually being doing them a disservice instead of a favor.  Of course, it may be the case children are just going to do what they want to do, while blaming others for the consequences of their personal decisions.


  1. "And I just wish someone had told me that the reality of hooking up is monumentally different from what I was expecting. "

    Makes one wonder just what she was expecting with "hooking up".

    Anyways, she probably was warned, probably by the Christianists to whom that Dreher refers. She likely just opted to not hear it.

    "ignorance of the nature of evil and temptation can lead to one being ill-equipped to recognize and deal with evil when it presents itself."

    This is something we wrestle with as homeschooling parents. How to make your child grasp the concept of evil and the Deceiver without handing him over to it. A fine line to be sure.

    Right now S3 is only five, but even today we don't tell him that the world is all fluffy bunnies and that there are bad people out there doing bad things.

    Perhaps one issue is that our society has blurred the lines between good and evil so much that it is hard for some to tell the difference. Think of the stories we tell children and young adults. For the Silents and (somewhat less so) the Boomers, good and evil were white and black. The bad guys wore masks in the stories, and did bad things. Nowadays, not so much...all or none wear masks, evil masquerades as good, heroes are flawed. It's all very jumbled and confused.

    One one hand, today we have a much less naive look on life. On the other, we have ceased telling morality tales to our children, with the result that they no longer recognize evil when they see it.

  2. clearly this child was exploited by the predatory males at her institution, and i think it long overdue that someone be held responsible for that, and be made to pay their debt to, ah, society

    surely the men who took advantage of her (raped her, to be truthful) can still be rounded-up and held to answer for their crimes?

    lest they go on to abuse other unwary innocents

  3. @EW- I'm inclined to believe that she was warned but ignored it, but I do know of some Christians who have done their damnedest to shelter their children from the knowledge of evil, causing their children to be ill-equipped to deal with evil and temptation. I guess the best way of saying this is that I think this particular girl's claims are plausible but not likely, and that in the event of them being true, parents may need to rethink their desire to shield their children.

    @ray- Believe it or not, there are still young people who remain largely innocent by the time they reach the age of maturity. I strongly doubt that they are a majority, but these sort of people do exist. And yes, there are many people that like to corrupt the innocent.

    Now, if you had bothered to read her essay, you would see that she takes responsibility for her decisions, and that she doesn't blame men for what she chose to do. All she wishes for was to have been warned about the emptiness of pure hedonism. This is a fair request to make, especially of one's parents. Whether this complaint is legitimate in this specific is not for me to say. However, I do think lessons can be learned from this, and therefore there is no need to spin this into the "women are sooooo evil" meme. Simply look at others' failures and learn from them.

  4. next time, youngster, i'll be sure to write what you wish me to write, and believe what you wish me to believe, lest i offend against you further

  5. @ray- to be honest, I'd be content if you simply refrained from attacking straw men.