On Saturday, I had lunch at the Humanism at Work conference with Greta Christina and her brother and I mentioned my recent reunion with my old French teacher and that he had told me, when I went off to college, that “education is the process of disillusionment.”
When I brought that up, Greta made a really interesting comment that had never occurred to me, which is that we use the word “disillusionment” or “disillusioned” as a negative thing. When people use it, it’s usually in the context of terrible disappointment — “I was an activist on issue X, but then I just became so disillusioned.” But as skeptics and rationalists, shouldn’t disillusionment be a positive thing? Losing one’s illusions about the world is one of our primary goals, isn’t it?
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