From David Brooks’ editorial in yesterday’s NY Times, an eloquent look at how the current decline in interest in the humanities may well lead to a less profound understanding of human nature, and original sin in particular:

“Over the past century or so, people have built various systems to help them understand human behavior: economics, political science, game theory and evolutionary psychology. These systems are useful in many circumstances. But none completely explain behavior because deep down people have passions and drives that don’t lend themselves to systemic modeling. They have yearnings and fears that reside in an inner beast you could call The Big Shaggy. 

You can see The Big Shaggy at work when a governor of South Carolina suddenly chucks it all for a love voyage south of the equator, or when a smart, philosophical congressman from Indiana risks everything for an in-office affair.

You can see The Big Shaggy at work when self-destructive overconfidence overtakes oil engineers in the gulf, when go-go enthusiasm intoxicates investment bankers or when bone-chilling distrust grips politics….

The observant person goes through life asking: Where did that come from? Why did he or she act that way? The answers are hard to come by because the behavior emanates from somewhere deep inside The Big Shaggy.”