Thursday, July 16, 2009

Our culture has truckled to the times — to the senses. It is not manworthy. If the vast and the spiritual are omitted, so are the practical and the moral. It does not make us brave or free. We teach boys to be such men as we are. We do not teach them to aspire to be all they can. We do not give them a training as if we believed in their noble nature. We scarce educate their bodies. We do not train the eye and the hand. We exercise their understandings to the apprehension and comparison of some facts, to a skill in numbers, in words; we aim to make accountants, attorneys, engineers; but not to make able, earnest, great-hearted men. The great object of Education should be commensurate with the object of life. It should be a moral one; to teach self-trust: to inspire the youthful man with an interest in himself; with a curiosity touching his own nature; to acquaint him with the resources of his mind, and to teach him that there is all his strength, and to inflame him with a piety towards the Grand Mind in which he lives. Thus would education conspire with the Divine Providence. A man is a little thing whilst he works by and for himself, but, when he gives voice to the rules of love and justice, is godlike, his word is current in all countries; and all men, though his enemies, are made is friends and obey it as their own.

— R.W. Emerson

3 comments:

Orion Pahl... said...

I don't know if this is "culture's" fault, unless "culture" is generally out to get us... (I have probably used the word culture like that in my own writing at times though)

Anyways, the reason I am commenting. I want to read "The Las American Man" all the way through. It is like the others, except real life. Let me know what you think though.

Orion Pahl... said...

(and this post is extremely motivating)

jedidiah jenkins said...

I don't think 'Culture' is out to get us... but I think culture here is simply the direction that society is taking. The collective choices of human movement. That is what Emerson seems to be critiquing. I agree though, I don't think 'culture' is out to get us. Culture rarely has an agenda, it is the sum of a million different parts. And, without one mind, easily vilified.
I will totally totally read that book with you. I just picked up a John Muir book as well. I want to know him.