Saturday, October 27, 2007

laudatory temporis acti

I was finally able to read the article that I've heard home school moms talk about since, well, since I knew what "home-schooling" was. The Lost Tools of Learning by Dorothy Sayers is a snapshot of the argument for a classical education and a "fun" bit to read; it's feels like reclining into a warm bath of understanding and being refreshed by the splash of ambition it would take to pursue this attainable, though strenuous, goal.
I'll leave a few highlights that I enjoyed:
...if we are to produce a society of educated people, fitted to preserve their intellectual freedom amid the complex pressures of our modern society, we must turn back the wheel of progress... teaching them all to read, we have left them at the mercy of the printed word...they are a prey to words in their emotions instead of being the masters of them in their intellects...
...We cannot go back--or can we? Distinguo. I should like every term in that proposition defined. Does "go back" mean a retrogression in time or the revision of error? The first is clearly impossible per se; the second a thing which wise men do every day. "Cannot" --does this mean that our behavior is determined irreversibly, or merely that such an action would be very difficult in view of the opposition it would provoke?
...Latin should be begun as early as possible--at a time when inflected speech seems no more astonishing than any other phenomenon in an astonishing world; and when the chanting of "Amo, amas, amat" is as ritually agreeable to the feelings as the chanting of "eeny, meeny, miney, moe."

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