Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I Wonder Why...? Reasons of Reason pt. 2

A Question

So my question is ‘What is Reason?’ Here is another possible definition of Reason, which I didn’t list yesterday,

  • Reason is that Faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses

I do like this one, which is from Objectivism, and I think it gets close - but it still isn’t quite it, isn’t quite a satisfying answer to my question of ‘What is Reason?’. There are lots of definitions out there, lots of claims for what Reason is, what it does, how to use it, or the need to use it, or its mystical or computational characteristics – there are even sub-specializations of Reason in ‘speculative’ and ‘analytic’ reason. No doubt useful stuff, but I’m far less interested in their claims of what Reason is, than what it is Reason does for you – all of these definitions seems to leave some things out of their descriptions of Reason… one of which is You.

Not just what you do with Reason; have you asked yourself… what is it you do when you are using your ‘faculty’ of Reason? Do you have the sensation that you’ve plopped a couple logical statements into the ol’ mental microwave to do a slow cook or quick defrost? For something that is supposed to be a process, a faculty, a capacity, a defining characteristic of being Human – its descriptions sure consist of some hazy, even gloopy definitional structures… how can they be so all over the map? And the results of reasoning – how can this vital aspect of humanity, produce results which are so often easily mistaken, off, close, uncertain, or dead on correct, though perhaps with an annoying whiff of ‘maybe…’ floating around the edges?

How does a ‘faculty’, ‘capacity’ (and so on…) develop over time in some cultures, and not so much in others? What if it was an opposable thumb we were talking about (it’s certainly as important), how would we react if some cultures had it, and some didn’t? Or if it appeared, disappeared and then reappeared again over the centuries? Or within a space of time from parent to child, such as those cases of human beings growing up without human parents, in the wild – when they are captured, their defining human attribute of Reason is found to be very little like what many so casually take to be the defining human attribute.

How does it disappear, at least in a recognizable form, in those raised without it? What are the reasons that explain that sort of randomness? The way you hear some people talk, Reason is a patented program installed as original equipment by the manufacturer (who or whatever that might mean) which has clearly defined rules of use and engagement. While in a sense that might be true, in a far more important sense, it obviously isn’t.

I don’t know about you, but my suspicion is that it isn’t a faculty, or capacity or any other kind of thing at all. Actually, I think it is probably a mistake to think of Reason as a thing at all, rather it is some thing which you do – and of those last two words, the emphasis should be on the word You. There is experience, curiosity and you – and it also relies upon something within you, which isn’t going to be organically found within either cellular structures or in some equivalent of spontaneously generated biological program code.

The Moon was up there last night as usual, but something unusual was going to happen to it, and late though it was, millions of people across the world were going to stay up late to see it, or were going to wake up early in order to gaze at it, the full lunar eclipse. I wonder what they were thinking as they gazed at the moon being eclipsed. Will their thoughts be similar to what people thought looking upon an eclipse 40,000 years ago? I sort of doubt it. But why they are gazing at it, the reason why… I’m willing to bet that that is probably very similar to our ancestor’s reasons. The conclusions they reached from the process no doubt are wildly different, but the reasons for gazing, I’m betting were very similar.

In at least one respect I think it will be the same, each person will gaze at it, and feel varying shades of curiosity and wonder while doing so, and there in, I think, lay the seeds of what we are pleased to call Reason. We all have the same starting point, but what led to the Western way of Reasoning was and is unique, and involved many different people wondering in eventually common ways, which slowly began to influence each other.

Aristotle said “All men by nature desire to know”, and the truth of this is easily observable in any normal infant, we want to know, we want to put two and two together, the world and the words not yet there to describe it… they dangle out there as the first five notes of “Shave and a hair cut, two bits!” cause the last two to tantalize us if they don’t quickly follow… it’s agony (just ask Roger Rabbit)!

It’s a commonplace observation to say that civilization sprung from the crossroads of tribes of early humans… but I’d still like to know why? Aristotle defined Humans as Political Animals, he said that human beings are by nature political animals, who naturally want to live together, that "the common advantage also brings them together insofar as they each attain the noble life. This is above all the end for all both in common and separately." Why this is so, is the Reason why this is so, and the reason why reason is so varied, and why it comes and goes so easily.

Patience, getting there.

What do you normally think of when you gaze at the moon? What's different about that during an eclipse? Think of what it must have been like for our ancestors, prior to civilization being established, or imagine if all cultures were to be suddenly wiped out through some disaster or another, I'll bet that the Moon would be at the root of why Reason would be rediscovered, and so why civilization itself will be rediscovered and rebuilt, once again. The Moon is that inescapably strange and ever changing, ever moving object in the night sky that inevitably draws peoples gaze to it. It is a, probably the original source, of wonder, and there is something in that, that draws people together, and surely did so even before language; pointing, watching, grunting, as it would for future cavemen (or as it does for our present MTV cavemen); and after developing language it surely would be one of the original sources to spawn stories, stories to be honed in discussion and continued to grow in wonder.

However, the Moon was up there all the 200,000 or so years before the lights clicked on for us around 40,000 years ago. What else happened?

Here’s a question, did those early humans, pre-language (developed anyway) humans, did they Reason? I’m betting they did. The trail I’m finding Reason leaving… is hugely affected by, but not dependent upon, language. In fact, from my observations, our lower and initial concepts are not formed with words, but with impressions, sensations, sequences, and their time attendant emotions (I’ve gone into this in some depth in previous posts, ‘Aha!’, ‘What are words for’ and ‘Spiritual Economics’ – I’ll link them up later). Those primitive concepts, and I think they do qualify as concepts, are what underlay all our years of learning as an infant, years spent staring so amazedly at our Parents faces; rubbing, touching, kissing, listening to their sounds, seeing and feeling their reactions. Those early wordless concepts, by virtue of being the first in our minds, are the foundation for all that comes afterwards (and I think a key to the nature and power of Poetry as well, but that’s another post… brevity, brevity, brevity…heh).

The Distinctive Human Attribute
Reason is not our distinctive attribute as human beings; it is the expression of our distinctive attribute. Curiosity isn’t our distinctive attribute either; ask any Cat you may know. Our distinctive attribute, is our ability to form and recall deep and organized conceptual structures within our minds. That is what made us different from the other primates, we could learn deeply, remember and pass it on – while our primate cousins could manage to tie a few sounds and motions to actions and feelings from their daily lives, we could integrate far deeper connections into those first primitive concepts and aspirations.

That made us clever, and dangerous, primates, but it wasn't enough. I don’t think we actually became Human in the way we recognize today, until that deep and organized conceptual structure, in response to and recognition of Reality began to be hierarchically formed, ordered and passed on in a stylized way. Not so much the content, though without that all else would of course be literally meaningless, but the Method, the method of guiding our curiosity to reflect between the inner world and the outer world. With that discovery, we began the process of stylizing our curiosity into something approaching what today we would recognize as being Reason.

Reason is the learned control of our Wonder, of our desire to know, it is the stylized form of curiosity.

I wonder Why.
I wonder why, and Reason is the answering of that, it is the handmaiden of our sense of Wonder. As Reason is based in wonder, it is alive and active within us. On the other hand, as our reasons become based in other reasons and not wonder, it tends to lose that lifeblood of wonder as well – ask any public school student if you doubt me.

That all men desire to know, is true, but that desire, like others, can be dulled or even retarded. It can be also perverted. A person can cease to desire to know, and instead desire to satisfy, to conclude, to hear those last two notes, no matter whether they are the right ones, as long as the sequence is ended, they’ll be satisfied, and stilled.

Reason, as we know it in the West, is different than Reason in other cultures, it is possible for it to be different because there is not a set faculty of Reason within our minds – there is only a tradition of it, a training of curiosity common to a culture, something that is passed down from parent to child, reinforced by the family, the society, the culture, it’s stories & myths, through the generations and centuries.

How that should be shaped, and how to determine what is reasonable to Reason with, we'll begin to get to in the next post.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Do You Have A Reason For Saying That? Reasons of Reason pt. 1

I've had some interesting exchanges out in the blogosphere over the last week or so, that got me to override my ever expanding workweek, and swipe some time to post on the question of just what it is that is valid for, and involved in, thinking in regards to facts, myths, poetry, philosophy and religion.

I had one of my usual 8-10 page posts mostly together last night, and then had one of those annoying realizations that I was asking and answering the wrong question.

The right question, or rather the direction of the right question, I think, is 'What is Reason?'

Doesn't seem like there's going to be a lot of progress in any arguments without this getting settled on first, or at least not without first stating what my assessment of it is. As things stand now, we've got leftists, logic choppers, atheists, religionists, philosophers and misosophers all laying claim to using Reason, and through their flawless execution of said Reason, all claim to show the others to be at best in error, or (and this is by far the more preferable conclusion) - Fools.


Seems to me that if everyone thinks they're right (including those who manage to conclude that there is no 'Right' and no 'Wrong' [doh!]), then contrarian that I am, I'm betting that most of them (us) are probably wrong - or if not flat out Dufus wrong, they are at least a wee bit flawed somewhere in their... well... reasoning.

So I did a little (emphasis on little) research on 'Reason' this morning, and got some interesting results about what it is.

Have a gander:

  • a rational motive for a belief or action; "the reason that war was declared"; "the grounds for their declaration"

  • an explanation of the cause of some phenomenon; "the reason a steady state was never reached was that the back pressure built up too slowly"

  • the capacity for rational thought or inference or discrimination; "we are told that man is endowed with reason and capable of distinguishing good from evil"

  • rationality: the state of having good sense and sound judgment; "his rationality may have been impaired"; "he had to rely less on reason than on rousing their emotions"

  • decide by reasoning; draw or come to a conclusion; "We reasoned that it was cheaper to rent than to buy a house"

  • cause: a justification for something existing or happening; "he had no cause to complain"; "they had good reason to rejoice"

  • argue: present reasons and arguments
    a fact that logically justifies some premise or conclusion; "there is reason to believe he is lying"

  • think logically; "The children must learn to reason" wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

  • or
  • Reason is the use of logical faculties to arrive at truth.http://www.apologetics.org

  • The wisdom which ensues from the union of buddhi with manas, as contrasted with the higher immanent wisdom of atma-buddhi; also the human mind, which finds its place in the union of the higher and lower nature through the mediating fourth principle or kama, which itself works through what the Qabbalists call nephesh or the Latins the anima. Again, in some European philosophers, the characteristics of the Logos, which is stated to be cosmic mind or the Third Logos.http://www.theosociety.org

  • The power of the soul through which we perceive the surrounding world and we develop our relation with it. We aquire experience of God by means of the nous and we formulate this experience, when required, by means of reason, in so far as it is attainable.http://www.pelagia.org/htm/b01.en.a_night_in_the_desert_of_the_holy_mountain

  • Or
  • a mental faculty, which deals with the changeable relative, is the intellectual faculty employed in adapting thought or action to some end, and is based on manmade premises and outer facts. Philosophically, reason is the power by which first principles are grasped prior to experience, as distinguished from understanding. Reason opens the Light on your Path. All reasoning is thinking, but not all thinking is reasoning, because not all thoughts are necessarily conscious. ...miriams-well.org/Glossary/

  • [A298/B355] "All our knowledge starts with the senses, proceeds from thence to the understanding, and ends with reason, beyond which there is no higher faculty".http://www.texttribe.com/text/kant_glossary

  • the category of epistemic methods based on extrospection – ie awareness of existence outside of our minds. There exists three main methods – which are logic, sense perception and concept-formation.http://www.strongatheism.net

  • or
  • is a calculator. So isn't it a strange thought that the calculating tool would have a moral will?http://www.a-studio.nl

  • "Jefferson held that reason is implanted in both physical nature and human nature. The reason of physical nature is its order. The reason of human nature is our ability to understand a fair portion of that order." (Miller, 4.)To References This is an idea typical of the Enlightenment. The idea of reason inherent in nature goes back to Plato's notion of a universe of "divine" ideas of which the natural objects of our universe are imitations. ...alpha.fdu.edu/~jbecker/nature/natureglossary.html

Some of these are interesting, some even downright amusing, however I find none of them to be all too satisfying. I've got an idea or two I'm going to develop, and hopefully in a series of smaller posts, rather than my usual hefty page whacker... we'll see what we see.

Care to offer up a reason or two for your favorite Reason first?

I'll be back...

Friday, August 03, 2007

Educationistas: Psst!... Wanna Buy Whatever I Sell You?

If you are trying to promote something, promote its value, its worthiness of your time and attention, wouldn't it make sense to focus on those features and benefits which are illustrative of it? If you were a salesmen, at the very least you'd hit those areas which are essential to, not odd incidentals which do nothing to promote IT, right?

For instance would you attempt to promote a sexy new actress by having people demonstrate how to put on lipstick?

Would you attempt to promote dining at a fabulous restaurant by leading groups to discover how to fold napkins in the stylish way they do in the restaurant?

Does it sound advisable to promote religious belief through workshops on how to build pews?

Would you attempt to promote the NFL by demonstrating how to lace up cleats?

Would you or would you not immediately fire any high priced ad agency that attempted to sell you on such strategies?

Time (again) to take a look at those wonders of the modern world, the educational establishment.

I had no intention of again mentioning Harry Potter, but it is currently the most visible manifestation of this latest idiocy from the purveyors of 'literacy' and 'education'.

First we get some humbling statistics (this seems to serve as the educationistic equivalent kneeling before entering a church prior to launching into a laundry list of prayers):

"According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, in 1998 (the year the first Potter novel was released in the United States) 43 percent of fourth-graders and just 19 percent of eighth-graders reported reading for pleasure nearly every day. In 2005, when the sixth book was published, the numbers were identical."

What I find to be truly interesting in that quote, is not that they wonder why kids don't read, but that they do not wonder what it is that they are doing to these kids between the 4th & 8th grades to make them stop reading.

This is decried as the sliding towards doom of literacy in the western world. Assuming you buy that, and that these people are literacies defenders, not its enemy, I'm sure you'd be keen on investigating some of their solutions, which the educationists are fairly brimming with. Let’s have a look, shall we?

"To keep kids reading during the long waits between books, many libraries have compiled "What to Read After Harry Potter" lists of other children's fantasy novels."

Hmm... Ok, not too outlandish there, recommendations for other books, sure, ok.

""We're seeing a whole new batch of kids' fantasy series. Youth literature is more vibrant than ever because of Harry Potter."

"Some of the many children's series librarians recommend are Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Trilogy, Jenny Nimmo's Charlie Bone books and Cornelia Funke's Inkheart trilogy."

Ehh... not so sure of promoting intentionally copy cat material being likely sources of actual Literature, as opposed to ordinary amusements... unoriginal usually means un valuable, but whatever.

"Several programs in the Philadelphia area use Harry as a teaching tool. Villanova University's Science and Theatre Magic Program uses Harry Potter as a vehicle to teach inner-city children the magic of science. The program begins with a train ride similar to the Hogwarts Express and a visit to a "magic mall" modeled after Diagon Alley where the participants, like Harry and his friends, can obtain school supplies."

WTF? Is this marketing or education?

"Bonding Over Books, a new North Carolina-based nonprofit organization, hosted a four-day Harry Potter family camp at the University of Pennsylvania from July 12-15. The event featured programs for kids, 'tweens and teens, including activities like a fan fiction writing workshop, potion-making and "Pennitch." There were also classes for adults on topics such as the role of parenting in the Harry Potter books - "Harry Potter and the Denial of Due Process," "Not So Safe, After All: Learning the Hard Things at Hogwarts" and "Fear, Depression, and Other Psychological Challenges in Harry Potter.""


The western world is under a dark spell of forgetfulness
If the educationistas insist on selling their product in this way, and they do, then perhaps we should question whether or not we are both interested in the same product? Are they selling what we think we are buying, or are they more like some unethical stock broker who is actually selling the action of selling orders, with absolutely no concern for either the stocks and bonds being sold, or our net worth.

One thing we can guess from their approach is that they are not approaching Literature as having anything to do with well written works, whether fiction or non-fiction, which bring the great ideas into our awareness and consideration. In fact, their approach conveys a complete absence of such an approach, or even an awareness of their possible existence. There are times that they seem to be making a deliberate attempt to avoid or erase such an approach having anything to do with Ideas, Great or otherwise. They seem intent on focusing not on the Vertical (conceptual, normative) but instead seek to seize upon particular instances of the works they do access, stomp them flat, and apply them to particular tasks that can be performed.

While avoiding or denying any sort of hierarchy of Ideas, they are always selling some flatland 'value', promoting some particular vocational skill. Always their concern comes back to that. If they ever learned the proper meaning of Happiness, I doubt very much whether or not any of them retained the concepts of leisure, of education, happiness or anything else relating to the Good life, of The Good, The Beautiful and The True; higher values sought for their own sake, instead of for what they will earn in the market place. And they call capitalists ‘money grubbers’!

Now, don't get me wrong here, I do not intend to denigrate the market place in any way, shape or form. I believe that we are creatures living within an actual, physically existing world, with Free Will as our inescapable primary, and Reason (proper contextual capital 'R' reason, not myopic leftie logic chopping) as our tool for living - if we choose to use it, and that the finest system flowing from that reality is capitalism, I am a capitalist pig through and through. Business people, entrepreneurs and the rule of the free market are requisite ideals in the area of the business of life and earning one. In that system can be seen the expression of all of our Rights and Virtues in action, here on earth.


But I don't intend to be confused as to the source of those Rights and Virtues, or their place in our lives; productive work is our central activity, but should be only a secondary focus in our lives, not the primary. Work abides only so far up the scale of living your life, and there is a vast difference between vocational training, and Education. One trains you how to earn the means to go on living; the other teaches you why to live, and what to live for and how to live, how to find Life within your life. One is necessary and urgent, one is important. In fact, the former can not exist, not in the American way, without the later.

Literature (and I’m including spiritual and Religious material as well) belongs to the later, and all the efforts of the educationistas to drag it down from its pedestal to the flattened level of vocational training & thrill seeking, are in the end anti-life - in the sense of life being something worth living rather than just breathing through to the end. Their approach and focus is little different to what is accomplished by training a chimp to hand-sign the word 'banana', in order to get a treat. Merely clever primate tricks, in no way revealing of the depths of soul available to living a life worthy of a Human being.

Another problem, from the shear expedient viewpoint, is that vocational training, especially in today's world, is of fleeting value at best. Spending time teaching kids to do anything with technology, is going to be outdated long before they leave school. Note, I’m not talking about using technology as a tool in education, properly done, that’s a plus, but a proper use is when it doesn’t intrude into the process such as using a PocketPC to put two or three hundred books inexpensively into a students hands, an improper use would be teaching PowerPoint as a means of making slide show book reports – that’s just time wasting ‘fun and useful’ silliness.

Training will necessarily change from one circumstance to the next. A proper Education will be valuable, life enhancing, in any time, under any circumstances. Little of what you learned to use with WordPerfect 1.0 will apply to Word 2007. Learning to read will apply to the ancient Greeks, Elizabethan Shakespeare, Enlightenment Founding Fathers, or contemporary Thomas Sowell. One is useful, one is valuable.

A proper Education that is worthy of the name, would be recognizable as such to Plato in his time as well as Ben Franklin in his or little Johnny or Janey in ours or their great grandchildren in theirs. Whatever is called an education, if it is dated and irrelevant in five years or fifty, it wasn't an education to begin with.

What about when vocation goes on vacation?
Something else to consider, there will likely come a time when productive work, as we understand it today, will not be required for living your life. I don't mean in any sort of utopian, communistic/socialistic way, I mean that at some point in the future, technology will progress to the point that any 'work' that is required for people to perform in order to gain the means of providing food, clothing and shelter, will bear little or no resemblance to what the majority of us now recognize as Work.

Two hundred years ago, even satisfying the need to have water with a meal, a warm shower or bath, meant retrieving multiple bucket loads of water from a well or stream some distance from your front door - no matter the weather, as well as chopping wood and laying a fire to heat the water for which ever purpose it was needed. And if you wanted cold water... you needed to be satisfied with the temperature of your well or stream, because that was as cold as it was going to get.

Today all of that intense work is accomplished with the flick of a finger on the appropriate faucet, and pressing your glass to the refrigerator tap for ice cold water, or actual ice - cubed or crushed. The time once necessary to have spent on supplying water on demand was chopped from hours of hard work, to a momentary flick of a finger, and those freed hours we’ve mostly filled with other such time compressed flicks... as well as more 'free time' to do as we please. Just as our ancestors of even 200 years ago would be flummoxed at the actions we go through and are pleased to call work, our descendants - possibly within another 200 year span, will still need to go through some motions to provide for them and their family, but we would be stunned at equating those future ‘flicks’ with 9 to 5 Work, as we know it.

When that time comes, such flicks will amount to only so much of the day, little of the blocks of time they will have freed up with them will be packed with other such tasks - and keeping in mind that there is NO free lunch, 'free time' will be the norm for their time.

What then?

This is not so outlandish a thought as it may seem, there are some people living today, the children of the very wealthy, who face similar issues right here and now. Work as most of us know it, is not something they need to perform. For them in particular, this question is of extreme urgency and relevance. And just as a hundred years ago only the very wealthy had electricity in their homes, while today even the poorest do, at some point in the future even the 'poorest' will have the leisure time which only the wealthy face today.

What then? When you don't have the ‘urgency shield’ of things and tasks to be done conveniently keeping the important considerations of life at bay, then you have the very real dilemma, horrific actually, of needing to choose between a path that will lead to being either a Paris Hilton, or a ... what?

We the normal people, have been steadily progressing towards a state of leisure unheard of at anytime in the past, and eventually we will all hit some level of equivalence in not needing to perform the motions of focused effort to go on living in the manner accustomed to. The fact that there are so many Paris Hilton's and wannabees, shows how poorly schools - public and private, have dealt with these issues, but they are here, arriving with our increasing amounts of 'Free Time'.

What then? What is the other option? What options do the educationistas provide for us to choose between, Ralph Kramden (or whatever the blue collar equivalent is these days) or Paris Hilton? Is that a choice? When the collar is gone, blue or otherwise, is Paris Hilton it?

Is that the Life worth living?
The Greeks had the motto’s of ‘Know Thyself’ and ‘All things in Moderation’. They didn’t mean gaze into a mirror, or stop before you puke. Complete Freedom, unshaped or restrained by reality, by how you relate it to your understanding of yourself and to higher, deeper Truths, that kind of Freedom will lead only to a descending spiral of trivial knowledge of things and thrills. Unconstrained Freedom will bring only hand fulls of empty time and despair, with no ability or clue how to fill it, except with more new things and thrills.

It is only when Freedom is bound up with reality and an understanding of it and your place in it, that the frantic need for urgent distractions will fall away and that you will be in a position to ascend to a liberating familiarity with The Good, The Beautiful and The True.

The Tantalizing 'life' of Paris Hilton
That descending spiral of trivial knowledge of things and thrills IS the dead end that the educationistas, and the progressives who spawned them, have been focused upon and steering us towards; whether it be substituting vocational studies in place of an education, or touting celebrity or lottery winnings as success, both are focused on the anemic, proletarian, free ride as being the goal of life - not the Good Life, but the Paid Life. Go to parties, be glamorous and 'exciting', or spend your hours dreaming of being them.

But when it comes to actually being them... what then? These 'prizes' which are supposed to make you "HAPPY" just by having them... it ain't so. Just ask Marilyn, Elvis or any number of Lindsay Lohan star kids if you doubt it; this is the road their training is putting us on, this is what they seek to tantalize you with, but you'd do well to look closer at the origins of the word Tantalize.

Tantalus was of divine blood and the only mortal invited to share ambrosia with the Gods, but not satisfied with such honor, he attempted to trick the Gods by serving them false food (his own dismembered son) at a banquet in their honor. His ruse discovered, he was cast into Hell with the punishment with gave name to 'Tantalizing': though submerged to his neck in cool water and with rich fruits within reach, whenever he bent his neck to drink, the waters receded, whenever he tried to close his hands upon the fruits a breeze blew them out of reach, and so he was doomed to be forever thirsty, forever hungry, forever unsatisfied.

Tantalus didn't have the wisdom to enjoy what he had, he was so focused on his own self importance that he sought to belittle what he should have revered by passing off a fraud for a value, corruption for Truth. That is the road the educationistas are putting us on with their job-fair schooling, their focus on the thrill of immediate things over the value higher Ideals, and there is going to be a massive pile up when we or our descendants all drive full throttle into the same dead end alleyway.

So… how do you interest kids in Literature, Mr. Wizard?
You keep kids interested in Literature, by... big suspense moment here... by properly reading and discussing Literature! The good stuff is Good! All on it’s own, it doesn’t need to be applied to the 'real world' through experiments with potato powered flashlights, it stands on its own; IF you focus on the Literature itself, the stirring ideas present within it and don’t attempt to draw their attention away from its delights and depths for the sake of 'easy' lessons and silly irrelevancies.

Learning to read literature for its own sake, for what you can discover in you through it, is one of its chief attractions. Learn to read literature not as a source for impressive cocktail hour trivia, but for the value it brings to your life, to understanding what you are, in your life. What Education in general, and Literature in particular brings, is ability to be able to use your time to live deeper in your time.

That time, that leisure sense, that bit of the Good Life, is what we all need now, in whatever amounts of time we can come into it with, that is what the educationistas, if they really were interested in Education in general and Literature in particular, should be trying to convey to us, to our children.

Instead we get 'Magic Mall's and 'Bonding over Books' - please.