Friday, December 21, 2007

Another book I'm reading ...

The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom.


Lack of education simply results in students' seeking for enlightenment wherever it is readily available, without being able to distinguish between the sublime and trash, insight and propaganda. For the most part students turn to the movies, ready prey to interested moralisms such as the dipictions of Gandhi or Thomas More - largely designed to further passing political movements and to appeal to simplistic needs for greatness-or to insinuating flattery of their secret aspirations and vices giving them a sense of significance. Kramer vs. Kramer may be up-to-date about divorces and sex roles, but anyone who does not have Anaa Karenina or The Red and the Black as part of his viewing equipment cannot sense what might be lacking, or the difference between an honest presentation and an exercise in consciousness-raising, trashy sentimentality and elevated sentiment. As films have emancipated themselves from the literary tyranny under which they suffered and which gave them a bad conscience, the ones with serious pretensions have become intolerably ignorant and manipulative. The distance from the contemporary and its high seriousness that students most need in order not to indulge their petty desires and to discover what is most serious about themselves cannot be found in the cinema, which now only knows the present. Thus, the failure to read good books both enfeebles the vision and strengthens our most fatal tendency - the belief that the here and now is all there is.

And, by "lack of education", he doesn't mean what you may think he means. Modern education is "lacking" because it fails to teach the "Classics" - including the Bible. Students don't read enough of the good stuff.