Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W. Hudson

2/11/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Today I opened an email to find that someone I considered a friend and ally had deliberately published something to hurt me, injure my reputation, and describe my motives as base and self-serving

I have always thought it a virtue to give people "the benefit of the doubt," to expect "the best from them," and so on. Unless these attitudes are balanced by a healthy skepticism and wariness, I would now consider them a gullibility that a good education ought to purge.  Am I saying we should organize Great Books courses around the theme of Evil or Wickedness?  Maybe, if that's the only way teachers can utilize works of literature, history, and philosophy, as well as works of art, to reveal the human condition in its totality.

Highlights

By Deal W. Hudson

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/11/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: classical education.virtue, betrayal, morals, manners, friendship, integrity, Deal W Hudson


WASHINGTON,DC (Catholic Online) - Was I asleep in class when my teachers talked about the ways of wicked men? I remember the sins of envy and pride on display in "King Lear," the wrathful ambition in "Macbeth," the betrayal of Judas in the Gospels, and all the souls being tormented in Dante's "Inferno." But, for some reason, most of what I recall from my mostly classical education, are ideals, ideals of moral behavior, ideals of society, ideals of human happiness. 

I believe I was well-versed in the "oughts" of life, what human persons should aspire to, what vices to avoid and virtues to embrace, and a steadfast commitment to uphold the common good of our nation. As I look back on my education, and I am blaming only myself, I think that I absorbed the ideals but without the offsetting tales of evil, of the weak and the wicked.  In other words, I became naive about human nature, always expecting the best from people, loyalty from friends, respect toward the great traditions, and belief in the common values upon which our culture had been built.

Another way of putting it is this: I read and understood Aristotle, but read and did not understand Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Baudelaire, Dickens, Hawthorne, Poe, and Flannery O'Connor. These authors combined contain, in their writings, all the warnings against human weakness, human cupidity, and human deceit that any person needs to know to live wisely in this world.  I read them, even read them closely, but somehow did not think that I would encounter in my world people like Iago, Lady Macbeth, Chaucer's Pardoner, Dicken's Bill Sykes, Hawthorne's Rev. Dimmesdale, or O'Connor's traveling Bible salesman, Manly Pointer.

I have always thought it a virtue to give people "the benefit of the doubt," to expect "the best from them," and so on. Unless these attitudes are balanced by a healthy skepticism and wariness, I would now consider them a gullibility that a good education ought to purge.  Am I saying we should organize Great Books courses around the theme of Evil or Wickedness?  Maybe, if that's the only way teachers can utilize works of literature, history, and philosophy, as well as works of art, to reveal the human condition in its totality.

"If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared." When I first read this line from Machiavelli's The Prince I considered it cynical, the product of a violent and bygone age. What a silly boy I was, a silliness that unfortunately lasted into manhood.

Why am I pondering this? Today I opened an email to find that someone I considered a friend and ally had deliberately published something to hurt me, injure my reputation, and describe my motives as base and self-serving. 

I surprised myself by how easily I passed it by, put it in the past, not even registering my disappointment with the person responsible.  But ten years ago I would have felt wounded and confused, wondering to myself, "How could he have done this to me?" Not today, however; my education in the evil ways of men, including my own, has been augmented by what is called "life experience."

© Deal W. Hudson, Ph.D

-----
Deal W. Hudson is president of the Morley Institute of Church and Culture, Senior Editor and Movie Critic at Catholic Online, and former publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine.This column and subsequent contributions are an excerpt from a forthcoming book. Dr. Hudson's new radio show, Church and Culture, will begin broadcasting in February on the Ave Maria Radio Network.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More U.S.

MASSIVE OIL SPILL: Santa Barbara declares state of emergency over massive oil spill in Pacific Ocean Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

About 9 miles of the Pacific ocean, across a popular spot on the California coast, was damaged after a pipeline leaked massive amounts of oil in the water earlier this week.     MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - According to officials, up to ... continue reading


UC Santa Barbara massacre survivor speaks on the day's events and his journey to recovery Watch

Image of www.thisischriswhite.com

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The fateful night of May 23, 2014, Antoine Cherchian managed to survive being shot by the virgin killer, Elliot Rodger, during his killing spree at UC Santa Barbara. While Cherchian sustained fatal injuries, along with six other students murdered, he is thankful for ... continue reading


Crackdown by federal agents on 'Pill Mills' in four southern states Watch

Image of An average of 44 people in the U.S. dies every day from opioids. These drugs include Vicodin, OxyContin and Percocet.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Drug Enforcement Administration and other authorities are raiding pharmacies, pain clinics and other facilities in four southern U.S. states. It is all part of an aggressive crackdown on prescription pain drug abuse. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Matt C. Abbott: Why I wrote Pope Francis about an exorcist

Image of Father William S. Bowdern, S.J. Father Bowdern was the chief exorcist in the 1949 exorcism of Robbie, the teenaged boy whose case inspired William Peter Blatty's 1971 novel The Exorcist, which subsequently was made into a feature film.

By Matt C. Abbott

Here's one name I haven't heard mentioned in regard to possible canonization, yet it seems he'd be a good candidate: Father William S. Bowdern, S.J. Father Bowdern, who was born in 1897 and died in 1983, was the chief exorcist in the 1949 exorcism of "Robbie," ... continue reading


FBI lectures High school students on resisting ISIS recruitment Watch

Image of The FBI is planning to take its message to other schools in the Tri-State Area to reach kids at critical adolescent ages.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

High school students at Bergen County School, in Bergen County, New Jersey got a surprise lecture from FBI agents. They warned students away from sophisticated new techniques used by Islamic State to join their ranks. In particular, a new ISIS-produced video ... continue reading


Bin Laden's secret files: What we found and what's been released Watch

Image of The U.S. Department of National Intelligence has released a report of documents that were captured during the May 1, 2011 raid in Pakistan that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The U.S. government has begun declassifying and releasing documents that were captured during the 2011 raid of Osama bin Laden's hideout in Pakistan, and some of what has been released shows that America's number one enemy for almost a decade was obsessed with ... continue reading


Are there weapons aboard? U.S. Air Force space shuttle's secret contents no longer a secret Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The U.S. Air Force's X-37B space shuttle, launched into Earth's orbit, was revealed not to contain weapons as many feared. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - According to the published manifest, the space shuttle carries a new form of Hall ion-powered ... continue reading


Catholic University removes insensitive mural honoring convicted killer Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Marquette University in Wisconsin has officially taken down a mural of Assata Shakur, one of the FBI's most wanted. Shakur was convicted of killing a state trooper in New Jersey before fleeing to Cuba in 1973. The Catholic university's authorities were warned of the ... continue reading


As John Wayne would say, YO! America's biggest ranch up for sale for $725 million Watch

Image of  The Waggoner Ranch includes the 510,000-acre ranch spread over six North Texas counties, with two main compounds, hundreds of homes, about 20 cowboy camps, hundreds of quarter horses, thousands of heads of cattle, and 30,000 acres of cultivated land.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Waggoner Ranch, America's biggest ranch stretches over 510,000 continuous acres, or 796 square miles, making it a plot of land bigger than the island of Oahu and New York City. It is up for sale for $725 million. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Realtors are hoping ... continue reading


See what is REALLY killing Americans with macabre 'Death Map' Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While heart disease and cancer are the most common killers in the United States, a new map proves that these causes vary from state to state. Said "Death Map" shows the most distinctive cause of death, which is the rate higher than the national average. LOS ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 2:1-11
1 When Pentecost day came round, they had all met ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34
1 Bless Yahweh, my soul, Yahweh, my God, how great ... Read More

Gospel, John 20:19-23
19 In the evening of that same day, the first day of ... Read More

Reading 2, First Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13
3 Because of that, I want to make it quite clear to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 24th, 2015 Image

St. David I of Scotland
May 24: David, the youngest son of Scotlandís virtuous queen, (Saint) ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter