Character Is Not Built Through Osmosis, by Dr. Donald DeMarco

Answering Fr. James Martin S.J., by Fr. Dwight Longenecker
December 2, 2019
Venezuela: China, Russia, Oil and the Threat to U.S. National Security, by Ken Blackwell/Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin
December 2, 2019

By Dr. Donald DeMarco, Catholic Exchange, December 2, 2019

Dr. Donald DeMarco — Prof. Emeritus/St. Jerome’s University, Adjunct Prof./Holy Apostles College & Seminary.  He is a regular columnist for the St. Austin Review.  His latest books, How to Navigate through Life and Apostles of the Culture of Life are posted on 

Osmosis, as anyone who has taken a high school course in biology knows, is the tendency of a fluid, usually water, to pass through a semipermeable membrane into a solution where the solvent concentration is higher, thus equalizing the concentrations of materials on either side of the membrane. The term “osmosis” is a Latinized form of the Greek word, osmos, meaning “a push”. It also refers to the gradual or unconscious assimilation of ideas.

Education is a conscious assimilation of ideas that conform to reality. It is a process by which objective data pass through the senses and are possessed by the knower. Education is not the same as osmosis, although what passes for education in many instances these days is often the passage of toxic cultural ideas through a weak defense system into a person thus forming a mirror image of culture. In other words, the osmotic process in education is akin to extreme socialization or acculturation in which mind and culture have an equal concentration of the same ideas.   

When Dostoevsky submitted his manuscript, Crime and Punishment, to the publisher, he included a note stating that his story was about a university student whose mind was infected by incomplete ideas that float on the wind.  The great Russian novelist understood that education is not the same as infection.  Raskolnikov, the main character of the book, did not understand his culture; he was possessed by it.  ….


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