My first and last care is not politics (a late-learned duty) but education (an abiding passion). Education seems to me inherently conservative, being the transmission, and thus the saving, of a tradition’s treasures of fiction and thought…. But education is also inherently imaginative, because from pre-school to graduate school, it consists, or should consist, primarily of learning to read books (in whatever format), books of words, symbols, diagrams, musical notes. For entry into all of these, but perhaps books of words above all, imagination is indispensable… What matters most is, as I must repeat, the education of children. Looking at them from the vantage point of their future teacher, I would wish this for us: that their memories be stocked with the finest products of the tradition and their minds be— gently— turned toward the outside in close looking and articulate verbalizing, and toward the inside in absorbed reading and ready visualizing. Just forget for a while about ‘preparing them for tomorrow’ and ‘for being productive members of today’s society’— all that routine drivel deserves scare quotes since it’s meant to turn us into sacrificial victims on the altar of utility. —Then & Now: The World’s Center and the Soul’s Demesne, by Eva Brann (Paul Dry Books, 2015).
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