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Monday, June 27, 2011

Me, me, me

Good read over at the NYTimes, though I'm actually not sure I'd agree with his formulation. I agree that the messaging current students receive is off, and I certainly agree that self-centeredness and the illusion of absolute freedom are bad things to try to center a life on. This way of thinking reminds me of something a student once wrote to me:
I think the point of English is not at all about the text or what the text is saying or what the author is trying to say. If I wanted that, I'd take a history class where my goal was to learn facts and people's opinions of the time period.
But, I think I disagree with what seems to me to be the conflation of "having/building a self" and "being self-centered." If I had to reformulate on the fly, I'd say that the only way to develop a truly worthwhile self is to spend the time, effort, experience, etc. that it takes to know what you can and should lose yourself in, and to see how, in those places of devotion, attention, practice, etc, you express what is best and worst in the self. Or something.

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