Sophisticated Savagery

The following column by Kays Gary was originally published by The Charlotte Observer, September 4, 1966.

Here’s something, now, for the preacher just an hour or so away from the pulpit without a sermon topic.

Here’s something, too, for brand-new mothers and fathers who will determine in the next six years what kind of people are to inherit the earth.

It comes in a routine little news release from a nearby college.

Enrolling freshmen were asked to define the goals they have set for themselves. Here’s a fair sampling:

“I want a rich and secure future.”

“I just want to graduate and make money.”
“I want a good education so I can make a living when I am out on my own.”
“I want to get to know and understand people.”
“I want to find the purpose of my life.”
Most of all (I want) to succeed and be well-known.”
“I seek a better understanding of a complex world and I want the ability to earn a pot full of money.”
“…to get prepared for a high-paying job.”
“…to broaden my understanding of people and prepare to become a social case-worker.”

“…obtain a background for making a sizable income as an adult.”

There it is. No direct declarations of purpose in giving, contributing or service, though a few imply these inherent goals. The evidence is overwhelming that self-service has become the Holy Grail.

We can’t flail the freshmen. They didn’t dream up these values. It is their legacy. Our gift to them, if you please.

They are launched, now, with these goals, in a church-supported college and it accepts the heaviest of challenges—to accomplish in four years that which we couldn’t accomplish in 18.

It’s an enormous challenge because the mold is cast in the image of sophisticated savagery. The professors could use a prayer.