It was hard to choose a favorite, but this from John Milton by Grant Horner is one I’ve been chewing on a lot:
If you unwisely begin dismantling the major vehicle of learning — books — it will not be long before learning collapses, wisdom decays, and virtue vanishes. (p. 51)
The context was regarding censorship…
…if you tame me, my life will be filled with sunshine. I’ll know the sound of footsteps that will be different from all the rest. Other footsteps may send me back underground. Yours will call me out of my burrow like music.
The only things you learn are the things you tame.
Both from The Little Prince, when he’s talking to the fox. My favorite chapter in the book. 🙂
OH MY GOODNESS!That quote was on our wedding invitations! It was translated a bit differently:
if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life . I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others.
But still. As you can imagine, I love it still. 🙂
Here are some sections from Norms and Nobility By David Hicks that I find particularly pertinent to our current cultural climate.
[O]nly men and women who want to know the truth more than to be proven right will accept dialectical challenges and not regard reason with suspicion and fear. […] Dialectic always comes out of the whole to challenge the part. Just when he grows confident of his grip on some part of knowledge, dialectic forces thinking man to recognize the inadequacy of his understanding in relation to the whole. […] Conscience negates, or challenges, man’s present courses of thought and action, driving him to seek a resolution to this challenge at a higher level-of-being, where his new knowledge will in turn encounter new dialectical challenges.
Earlier in the chapter, Hicks explains the value of Socratic dialogue:
Man could now visualize and oversee his own mind at work. The very form of these conversations provided Socrates’ students with a model for how their minds ought to work. Whereas dialectical thinking may occur at an unconscious level in all men, education makes man conscious of how his mind works when engaged in an activity of thinking. Now, dialectic can happen more often and at higher levels.
I found this whole section of the book very helpful as I try to move from unconscious dialectic thinking (which seems to produce anxiety in me because I’m not aware of what’s happening; it just seems like the ground is shifting beneath me) to conscious dialectic activity, which I hope would provide confidence as I encounter new information and perspectives.
I’ve been reading a lot of Plato lately — and therefore a lot about Socrates — and it’s interesting because I was just thinking about how Socrates’ example compels me to want to become a better thinker, and to try to work harder and be more diligent in my thinking.
I know what you mean about the shifting sand feeling, but I hadn’t considered the idea that this could be due to subconscious dialectic…that is a fascinating thought!
“O purblind race of miserable men,
How many among us at this very hour
Do forge a lifelong trouble for ourselves,
By taking true for false, or false for true;
Here, through the feeble twilight of this world,
Groping, how many, until we pass and reach
That other, where we see as we are seen!”
-Idylls of the King
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