It could be stated that without education, we will blunder and slumber, but through education we will climb and soar.
The journey of our species has shown repeated advancements of creativity and technology as a result of perpetual education. Without continually marching forward through ever-advancing study and expanding our minds, we may have ceased our evolution and destined our extinction. Education has been essential to the fulfillment of our individual and collective being. It is through this intellectual and intuitive development and the resultant greatness of mind that we have catapulted our civilization across the world. When symbolic language and written alphabets emerged, stone tablets, papyri, vellum, parchments and tree leafs became the documents of our progress and the birth and offspring of the first and subsequent great and classical books of inspired wisdom.
Our road to inspired education lies through reading and understanding of the great classical books. We cannot claim to be truly educated unless we have become acquainted with such literary masterpieces of our world or at least our tradition. These great books have endured, for they are what the common voice of humanity has come to call the finest creations in writing. From epoch to epoch, new masterpieces have been written and have won their place in our list of great tomes. The process of such literary change will continue as long as we think, become inspired and write. It is the task of each generation to reassess their world or tradition in which they live, to discard what they cannot use, and to bring into context with the distant and immediate past the most recent contributions to the great masterworks. We constantly need to recapture and re-emphasize and bring to bear upon our present problems the wisdom that lies in the works of our greatest and masterful thinkers.
Though we do not live in any time but the present, we are wise to want the voices of great and enduring thinkers to be heard again and again because they help us live greater and more inspired lives now. Their great books shed light on all of our basic problems, and it is folly to do without any light that becomes available. Reading and understanding great classical books provide us a standard by which we may judge all other writings. Without such masterpieces of literature, through time we are reduced to objects of propaganda and subordination.
“There Is No Comparable Repository Of Our Tradition Than These Great Masterpieces.”
These classics strengthen our minds and represent great educational instruments for our youth and aged. This education may be considered liberal, for it liberates our minds from the constraints of mediocrity. For centuries, liberal education was offered primarily, if not only, to those with economic, social or political position and the vocational education was provided for those more common. But today, greater numbers can educate themselves with the inspired classics throughout their lives. Every book we consume leads to another which amplifies, modifies or even contradicts those before it, all which strengthen our minds and develop the character of our souls. By educating ourselves on the great principles of truth we free ourselves of the superstitious and pseudo-mysterious.
Our quest for education began at the dawn of history and continues to the present day. The spirit of civilization is the spirit of such educational inquiry. Its dominant elements have been the logos or the reasoned, ordered, and spoken word, knowledge and wisdom, and gradually its many specialized “ologies.” Nothing has remained uninvestigated or undiscussed in its pursuit, and no proposition has been left unexamined. The exchange of ideas has been held to be the path to the realization of the potentialities of our race or species. The great books of antiquity and of today are the means of understanding our society and ourselves. They contain the great ideas that dominate us without knowing it.
There is no comparable repository of our tradition than these great masterpieces. Leave these masterpieces unread for a few generations, and we will put an end to the spirit of our inquiry and begin our decadence and fall. Such great books have salvaged, preserved and transmitted traditions and perpetuated our progress. They hold before us the habitual vision of greatness and of virtue. These great classics have endured because great thinkers in every era have been lifted beyond themselves by the inspiration of their example, cause and soul. In their company, the ordinary world is transfigured and seen through the eyes of wisdom and genius, and some of their vision becomes our own. The aim of such learning is human transformation, refinement and excellence, for it is the education of free or liberated human beings. By becoming liberally educated, our minds can operate well in all fields and can be at home in the world of conceptual ideas and the world of practical and perceptual affairs.
Our liberal education is not merely indispensable; it is unavoidable, for nobody can decide whether they are going to be a human being. The only question open is whether we will be an ignorant, undeveloped one or one who has sought to reach the highest point we are capable of attaining. Our determination about the distribution of the fullest measure of this education will measure our loyalty to the best in our own past and our total service to the future of the world.
To close this brief piece of prose, may we all be inspired by a quote by Giorgio Vasari concerning the great genius Leonardo Da Vinci:
“Heaven sometimes sends us beings who represent not humanity alone but divinity itself, so that taking them as our models and imitating them, our minds and the best of our intelligence may approach the highest celestial spheres. Experience shows that those who are led to study and follow the traces of these marvelous geniuses, even if nature gives them little or no help, may at least approach the supernatural works that participate in his divinity.”
May we all continue with our inspired education through imbibing the classical writings of the great geniuses.
“The Great Books Of Antiquity And Of Today Are The Means Of Understanding Our Society And Ourselves.”