:: Anton Chekhov on the 8 Qualities of Cultured People@ Brain Pickings [I love this letter to his brother.]
:: Educational Oblivion and How to Avoid It @ Vital Remnants [Go read the whole post. It’s short and excellent.]
There are other classic books he has found too. And in reading them, he is transformed from a memoryless copy of himself, unquestioningly following the orders of what he now knows to be the very creatures who have destroyed his civilization, to a fully human being. A human being who has, by having recovered his cultural memory, been humanized.
:: The Role of Beauty in the Formation of Men as Men @ Crisis Magazine
[M]odern education has shifted from an emphasis on the liberal arts (a traditional venue for introducing people to the beautiful) to an often exclusive focus on career-oriented education. We are rapidly becoming a society of animals, where serving our needs and our wants is the over-arching narrative of our existence.
It is the role of beauty to shake men out of this mundane existence (or, to borrow a phrase from C.S. Lewis when he was referring to joy, to “administer the shock”) by making them confront a reality above and far more wonderful than a life of simply existing.
:: On “Beauty”: Marilynne Robinson on Writing, What Storytelling Can Learn from Science, and the Splendors of Uncertainty @ Brain Pickings [Several good Robinson quotes here, but that is not surprising. I’m of the opinion that beauty and wisdom seep from her pen.]
It has seemed to me for some time that beauty, as a conscious element of experience, as a thing to be valued and explored, has gone into abeyance among us. I do not by any means wish to suggest that we suffer from any shortage of beauty, which seems to me intrinsic to experience, everywhere to be found. The pitch of a voice, the gesture of a hand, can be very beautiful. I need hardly speak of daylight, warmth, silence.
Art has the twin functions of reflecting a culture and shaping it. The problem that contemporary artists face is a difficult one: how to express meaning to a world which has become culturally over-stimulated by the spectacular, hyper-sexualized, dumbed-down by inanity, and increasingly antagonistic to manifestations of Christianity. Some of the artists who are here this week struggle to believe that the vocation as an artist–especially a Christian artist–has any meaning or value at all. They are at the edge of redefining and creating anew with moral imagination a vision of the True, the Good and the Beautiful that has been all but exterminated in Western culture.