We live in a society that is very clever. We have multiple ways of communicating with ourselves. We can research almost anything — we do not need to travel to read a book because it is digitized. We can track the provenance of every fleece in the jersey we wear. We are clever, but we are not wise.
Where does this idea that marriage should be exciting come from?!
This is the $1,000,000 question. Our culture is spoiled, depraved, and stupid. A cocktail so deadly we even have children whispering divorce to their own parents.
Our society is so foolish that the response you should have to a daughter who is trying to sabotage a marriage (it is none of your business: you are not my spouse: the bedroom is private) would be seen by many social workers as an example of male violence and grounds for divorce.
So let’s just be glad that there are clever people, as we are that there are strong people. or beautiful people. But we should not account that as a virtue. Instead we should seek wisdom.
23 Thus says the LORD: Do not let the wise boast in their wisdom, do not let the mighty boast in their might, do not let the wealthy boast in their wealth; 24 but let those who boast boast in this, that they understand and know me, that I am the LORD; I act with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the LORD.
18For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
20Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. 22For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, 23but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.
26Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, 29so that no one might boast in the presence of God. 30He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
Now, it is very easy, if you are an Antipodean, to ascribe the kind of foolishness we are talking about to the United States, or if in the United States to California (or whatever state you do not live in). But stupidity is everywhere. NZ has young men siring multiple children they cannot support, just like the USA. And we have just as noxious a divorce culture.
Talking about the whole graduate degree thing – my husband laid down an ultimatum (at Christmas no less!) that I either get serious about marrying him or I go after my Ph.D. dreams because he wasn’t about to date me for another 4-5 years. I was stunned. Clueless me hadn’t even realized this could be a problem. I thought about it for maybe 24 hours before deciding I’d rather have this man’s babies than any number of graduate degrees. I actually went into a master’s program after we got married and left because I couldn’t stomach the stench.
The stench, by the way, is not usually physical. it is the ongoing cattiness of people competing to be number one in the group, seeing their value in their publications, the impact factor of the journals that took their work, their Hersch Index, and their academic grade. None of which gets research done: none of which leads to a functioning department. I’d rather work with pleasant people who need help in doing their research but are pleasant, reliable, and can work with guidance than be with a bunch of people who are highly intelligent and work in a silo, jealously guarding anything they do. (Most academic ideas are not worth as much as people think. It is better to share and help — even at the risk of losing ideas — than to hold onto things jealously. And yes, I made tenure using these tactics).
So, in the hope that wisdom will increase, may I suggest some rules this society forgets?
- The golden rule has teeth. The way you treat others is the way you will be treated.
- Bad company corrupts good morals. Choose who you hang out with.
- Stupidity is catching. So is depravity and the entitlement syndrome.
- Men like pleasant, feminine and cute. Women like strong, decisive and productive/providing/higher status. No amount of propaganda is going to change that.
- If you spend more than you earn, you will go bankrupt. This applies to families, cities, states, and the nation.
- We are a herd species. You have to get on with others to survive. If you are inherently cross-grained, stubborn, misanthropic and introverted, learn how to fake extraversion, caring, compliance and the love of Mankind. Yes I said fake it. Because some days you will not feel like doing it, but you will have to do it anyway.
And when you make a mistake, confess it to your beloved and God (priest optional). God is making us perfect. But he expects us to be perfect as much as I would expect a two year old not to go for the cookie jar.
PS: “If you are inherently cross-grained, stubborn, misanthropic and introverted” is a list of my natural tendencies. I have to practice this daily, and I am not alone. It can be done.