For 3000 years the goal of western learning was to come to know the nature of a thing so we would know how to relate to it appropriately. The obliteration of our civilization was ensured when that idea was first argued against, then displaced, then forgotten. Now people think they are classically educating when they teach children in three stages. As valuable an idea as this is, it is difficult to grasp how one could possible consider it the essence of classical education.
On the other hand, it was a marvelous doorway in. Now it is time to grow to the next level of understanding. The Logos is the ordering principle of all reality. Nature is the ordering principle of thinking about reality.
But modern thought is rooted in the idea that nature does not exist, that knowledge as it was conceived in the Christian classical era was a delusion, that assessment mut be done by expersts rather than by masters or wise men, and that children should not be taught to perfect their natures but to adapt to the environment and to contribule economically.
This is not a minor matter that requires a simple academic adjustment. This is a profound cultural assault that requires courage, resistance, and gentle feistiness. This is a call to intellecutal action, to turning around, to admitting that our error has been deep, complete, and catastrophic.
Freedom no longer means what it meant.
Knowledge and education no longer mean what they once meant.
Truth has become unknowable.
Politics have become necessarily nothing but Machiavellian power mongering.
Law has become necessarily the tool of the powerful, not subject to the law of nature.
Family life has been disoriented, marriage redefined, roles destroyed.
Civilization can be perceived only in the death rattle in its throat.
If the Christian classical schools do not begin to think more seriously about their ends, about their teaching modes and their curricula, about the nature of what they are doing, who they are teaching, and what they are teaching, they simply will not matter. They have done so much good already; I cannot imagine a greater trajedy than for them to have already fulfilled their potential or to feel that the discoveries of ten years ago are adequate to bring about a renewal that requires multiple generations of humble thinking.
I’ll be frank. I’m concerned.
We absolutely must think harder about the nature of education. We must think harder about nature itself. The fact taht it is displaced and that we are so poor at thinking about it is a symptom of our decadence and our decline. Unless we recover this idea, all is lost.
For those who piously object that we only need Christ I humbly reply that unless we know Christ according to His two natures, all of our pious appeals are emptiness.