Read Literature to Learn and Love the Truth

Another article by Esolen regarding the entire point of education, a point missed by the vast majority of modern educators and reformers.

Anyway, the gist of the solon’s objection to my criticisms was that we want students to be able to cite evidence when they make a claim about anything.  My objection to his objection, as I was running out of time, was that, as worthy a goal as that might be, that’s not what a literature course is really about.  He was thinking about tests, and I was thinking about David Copperfield.  He was thinking of technique, and I was thinking about the imagination and truth.

Now that I have the benefit of some time for reflection, and for looking at the page in question, I see that I missed an opportunity to make a crucial point.  It has less to do with literature, to which I’ll return in a moment, than with the whole aim of an intellectual life—even of a human life.  That aim is to behold the truth, and to love it for its beauty.

It’s hard to keep that foremost in mind, when we are met at every turn with a barrage of ugliness: expensive, deliberate, programmatic ugliness, such as that of the prose from the Alaska standards for reading and writing; and when the eyes of the soul are washed in the carbolic acid of relativism; and when truth is reduced to what is demonstrable by means of some measurement; and when reason is but a clever tool for procuring what will sate the appetite.

…You read good books to join in conversation with people who see farther or more deeply than most of us….

The article is definitely worth a read. 




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