Thursday, January 19, 2017

Leo Strauss: Liberal Education versus "apeirokalia"



"Liberal education, which consists in the constant intercourse with the greatest minds, is a training in the highest form of modesty, not to say of humility. It is at the same time a training in boldness: It demands from us the complete break with the noise, the rush, the thoughtlessness, the cheapness of the Vanity Fair of the intellectuals as well as of their enemies. It demands from us the boldness implied in the resolve to regard the accepted views as mere opinions, or to regard the average opinions as extreme opinions which are at least as likely to be wrong as the most strange or the least popular opinions. Liberal education is liberation from vulgarity. The Greeks had a beautiful word for ‘vulgarity;’ they called it apeirokalia, lack of experience in things beautiful. Liberal education supplies us with experience in things beautiful."
 — Leo Strauss, Liberalism Ancient and Modern



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