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Searching for “Lived Coherence”

Searching for “Lived Coherence” September 8, 2021

This is super interesting. Here are some money quotes:

In the next few years, two women will earn a college degree for every man, if the trend continues, said Douglas Shapiro, executive director of the research center at the National Student Clearinghouse.

No reversal is in sight. Women increased their lead over men in college applications for the 2021-22 school year—3,805,978 to 2,815,810—by nearly a percentage point compared with the previous academic year, according to Common Application, a nonprofit that transmits applications to more than 900 schools. Women make up 49% of the college-age population in the U.S., according to the Census Bureau.

“Men are falling behind remarkably fast,” said Thomas Mortenson, a senior scholar at the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, which aims to improve educational opportunities for low-income, first-generation and disabled college students.

And this:

The college gender gap cuts across race, geography and economic background. For the most part, white men—once the predominant group on American campuses—no longer hold a statistical edge in enrollment rates, said Mr. Mortenson, of the Pell Institute. Enrollment rates for poor and working-class white men are lower than those of young Black, Latino and Asian men from the same economic backgrounds, according to an analysis of census data by the Pell Institute for the Journal.

And this:

Social science researchers cite distractions and obstacles to education that weigh more on boys and young men, including videogames, pornography, increased fatherlessness and cases of overdiagnosis of boyhood restlessness and related medications.

Men in interviews around the U.S. said they quit school or didn’t enroll because they didn’t see enough value in a college degree for all the effort and expense required to earn one. Many said they wanted to make money after high school.

The whole thing is most interesting and worth the read. I am slowly getting through that series I linked yesterday, and this bit seems especially pertinent:

Not only do most modern persons know what it means to feel religiously vulnerable – to subtly worry that alternatives are “living options” (i.e. I don’t feel certain that they are wrong) – but most modern people experience a crisis of meaning and belief in still more basic ways. Even if intellectual coherence is achieved, “lived coherence” remains largely elusive – even to those who claim it. (2) Central to this crisis is the problem of mediating trust in a civilization that is based upon adult mutuality, but wherein its traditional conditions are quickly evaporating.

I have found all of this to be true as I wander about my own house asking my poor children what they want to “do with their lives,” as if they could possibly come up with an answer to such a question. The problem, as I think they would see it, is not that there are too many choices, but that all the choices appear to be if not actually soul-crushing, at least completely uninspiring. Want to scold people on tic-toc? Be a YouTuber? Be one of those people who stands around with nothing to do at the self-checkout, except swipe the key thing when I accidentally scan my milk twice? This culture is so horribly dissipated, so decadent, that even when you teach your child from the moment he is born that God made him to glorify him (God, not himself) and enjoy him forever (God, not himself, again) etc. etc. when he arrives on the threshold of manhood (boy is that an archaic trope), he looks out over the world and shrugs, probably. It’s like High Fidelity and About A Boy are creepily alive incarnationally in the minds and hearts of all people.

And yet, forsooth, the cultural trope of woman as victim persists unbounded. So that’s super fun. Not that there aren’t plenty of women trapped in the bleakness of it all, just like the men. So anyway, I’ve got stuff to do. Have a nice day!

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