quarta-feira, 22 de fevereiro de 2012

The Great American Novel

At the end of the Phaedrus, Plato has Socrates tell the story of the god Theuth, who, legend has it, invented the art of writing. When Theuth presented his new invention to the king of Egypt, he promised the king that it would make his people “wiser and improve their memories.” But the king disagreed, claiming that the habit of writing, far from improving memories, would “implant forgetfulness” by encouraging people to rely on external marks rather than “the living speech graven in the soul.” I think of Schopenhauer’s observation about the perils of excessive reading: Just as he who always rides gradually forgets how to walk, so he who reads constantly without pausing to reflect “gradually loses the capacity for thinking.”

“Such is the case,” said Schopenhauer, “with many scholars; they have read themselves stupid.”

Well, reading ourselves stupid is perhaps not our largest educational problem today.

Vale a pena ler na íntegra este artigo de Roger Kimball, aqui.

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