In our local paper Friday, news of yet another suicide on the campus of William and Mary, the third this year:
A College of William and Mary sophomore was found dead of an apparent suicide Friday morning in the Lake Matoaka area.
The body of Whitney L. Mayer, of Plano, Texas, was found by another student who contacted campus police Friday morning, according to a campus-wide e-mail to students sent by Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler.
Her body was found around 8:30 a.m., said university spokesman Brian Whitson. No details on the circumstances of Mayer’s death are being released by the university, Whitson said.
“Whitney was a Sharpe Scholar who had tremendous academic talent,” Ambler said in the e-mail. “Her faculty have described her as having a particular passion for biodiversity and for exploring the relationship between the environment and quality of life issues.
“She also had a keen sense of community and gave of herself to others. Although Whitney had yet to declare a major, much of her coursework reflected that commitment to the environment. She was also learning to play the mandolin.”
Mayer’s is the third suicide of a William and Mary student in 2010. Ian Kramer Smith-Christmas, 21, a junior from Stafford County, was found dead inside a vehicle in a Virginia Beach parking lot in April. Dominique T. Chandler, of Portsmouth, was found dead in her on-campus dormitory room in February.
Two days earlier, I’d received an email from Tom Graffagnino, pointing me to his latest post. He makes a strong case for what leads to despair:
The trajectory of the physical sciences, stripped of all transcendent and spiritual considerations, has painted itself into a nasty metaphysical corner. Like the serpent devouring its own tail (the mythical Ouroboros), Idol Scientism continues to gnaw away, unable…and/or unwilling…. to recognize the self-negating and destructive end-game it has embarked upon. Self-annihilating Nothingness, craftily disguised as “wisdom”, hisses temptingly from the darkness.
Indeed, modern Science, chained as it is to unforgiving, self-imposed Materialism and to the unstoppable theoretical “force” of Naturalism, has reached the unsettling conclusion that while there may appear to be some sort of design around us, there is in fact no “Designer”. There may appear to be some sort of “plan”about us, but there can be no “Planner”. Design and Plan (and Purpose) are simply illusions to be dismissed, foolish, pre-Enlightenment “myths” to be shrugged off and forever done away with.
After all, Scientism tells us, facts are facts and that is that. Consequently, there is no “God”.
End of discussion.
No debate allowed.
And so, we, the cudgelled subjects of our post-modern Sovereign, must accept the default position of Idol Scientism’s Commandment: that we (and everything else) sprang into existence, quite accidentally, from Nothing at all. We were created, our new and improved “Sovereign” tells us, by Nothing and for Nothing. That metaphysical “bottom line” is conclusively drawn for us simply as a matter of fact. And then,…. just as conclusively and for added emphasis… even that line is “scientifically”, matter-of-factly and magically erased.
This is the tragic lesson and legacy we are leaving our children and grandchildren today. This is the 21st century’s version of the “wisdom of the age”. It is a challenge as old and as persistent as that encountered in the shade of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. And just as deadly.
Philosopher and theologian, Francis Schaeffer, put it well when he said that post-modern man has both “feet planted firmly in mid-air.”
The tyrannical presuppositions of post-modernist “Science” have brought us face-to-face with the disquieting specter of ultimate Meaninglessness and her naturally morbid stepchild, Despair.
We may never know what drives a young person to end his or her life… but Tom’s point is cogently relevant and the timing of this latest local suicide and Tom’s piece in my world is hard to overlook.
There are consequences for propagating false hope… and more deadly ones for promoting the idea that hope doesn’t exist.
In my view, liberalism promotes both. Our young people are paying the price.