Scott Postma

A blog about the Great Books, the Craft of Writing, and Human Flourishing.

James Schall on the Significance of Education

Learning from Books

In this sense, the beginning of wisdom is a small dose of humility, of our willingness to acknowledge how much was known and learned before we ourselves ever were. Consequently, if we are to confront the greatest minds we must do so in their books, to which we must attend with the greatest care and respect.

 

On the Highest good

The single most important thing we can do to provoke students to want to learn is to confront them with Aristotle’s challenge, his reminder that the pursuit of the highest things, however difficult, is worth the effort and “surpasses everything.”

 

On Truth

No one will seek the highest if he believes that there is not truth, that nothing is his fault, and that government will guarantee his wants.

 

On Used Books

The bookstores that will save civilization are not online, nor on campuses, nor named Borders, Barnes & Noble, Dalton, or Crown. They are the used bookstores, in which, for a couple of hundred dollars, one can still find, with some diligence, the essential books of our culture, from the Bible and Shakespeare to Plato, Augustine, and Pascal.

 

Scarcity of Education

Higher education, education that transmits and reflects on the highest things…is today largely a matter of private enterprise, good fortune, and reading things that few assign or praise.

 

Insipid Education

Too often, ours is an insipid education consisting of details about supposedly humane, though mostly lethal, legislation, about technological change confused with wisps of environmentalist madness—nothing to move souls, no real causes, no real romance.

 

Learning vs. Being Taught

In A Place on Earth, Wendell Berry tells of Jayber Crow, the local barber in Port William who grew up in the Good Shepherd orphanage…[Crow was a man] who was ‘vastly more inclined to learn than to be taught.’

 

 

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About Scott Postma

Scott is a writer and teacher living in North Idaho. He loves teaching the Great Books, writing and blogging, and collecting more books than he’ll ever read in a lifetime. You can subscribe to the tribe and follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

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