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By Donald DeMarco, Crisis Magazine, April 15, 2021

Donald DeMarco is professor emeritus of Saint Jerome’s University and an adjunct professor at Holy Apostles College and Seminary. ..

Donald DeMarcoIt is impossible these days to be a university professor and not be accused of offending someone. Offensiveness is now regarded as a synonym for disagreement. I recall presenting to my class a distinction that psychologist Abraham Maslow made concerning two types of cognition. “Deficiency cognition” (D-cognition) occurs when an object is experienced partially or incompletely. “Being cognition” (B-cognition) occurs when an object tends to be seen as a whole, unrelated to anything else. Professor Maslow, so I thought, had made a rather innocent distinction.

At the end of class, however, a student stormed up to my desk. She was indignant and hot under the collar. “I am offended,” she said in a raised voice. Apparently, she saw herself as a D-cognition person and did not want anyone to remind her that there was something better. Of course, neither I nor Maslow was stating anything that was offensive. But the idea in the mind of my complaining student that she might be inferior in some way rattled her. …