Last updated on March 9, 2019
By Yvonne Nachtigal
Homecoming was cancelled this spring due to a reported lack of enthusiasm and turnout – a lack of school “spirit.” One explanation for this is simply the nature of community college, which is a temporary stop-over on the way to four-year schools with dorms and a greater sense of permanence and belonging.
But there is a lack of enthusiasm that seems to be over-arching not only community colleges, but young people in general. It is not only seen in lack of school spirit, but in an increasing moral, intellectual, and spiritual indifference.
While some are more aware of it than others, tradition, culture and family in America is rapidly being transformed. Knowledge has been replaced by a quick Google search and meaning has taken a back seat to happiness.
With a smart phone in every hand and media icons promoting an a-moral self-centeredness, a type of noire is spreading itself over our culture.
Rather than discovering who they are as distinct individuals, students are encouraged to become “world citizens,” openly accepting differences in culture, religion and thought, but within the strict confines of a political correctness that extinguishes individual thought or any moral absolute.
The movies, news, and the internet all carry the same dismal outlook. Endless fear broadcast by media has created a kind of numbness. Mass shootings, news of terrorism and fear of a climate apocalypse are the norm. Countless films feature depravity, death and the integrating of man with soulless machine.
Reality itself is being forced into a new mold with the message that individuality and moral values are irrelevant. The end result, it can be argued, is a nihilistic culture in which no one knows who they are.
Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. It is defined as the rejection of all religious and moral principles. A pure nihilist believes in nothing. He has no loyalties and no purpose. In the nihilist view, morality – even reality becomes subjective.
According to philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who is most associated with nihilism, “Every belief, every considering something-true is necessarily false because there is simply no true world” (Will to Power 1888).
Nihilism’s secular view reflects the materialism of Kant and Darwin, and the skepticism of Hagel. We can trace their thoughts back to the enlightenment era, Isaac Newton, Francis Bacon and Rene’ Decartes, who questioned the constrictive truths of their time, wanting to explore science, the esoteric and nature instead of moral absolutism.
The scientific revolution brought the advanced thought that culminated in our modern society, but it can be argued that its by-product is a culture that is wrestling with the meaning of a life they have been told has no author.
Most young people accept these things because it is all they have ever known. But in this climate, is it any wonder there is a lack of school-spirit?