Now just notice how that copia of metaphors -- champagne, soil and seedlings, quantam leaps -- still manage to evoke a unity. I think it's interesting how he brings in "quantam" when he discusses how even the scientific mind can benefit from the "cultural ground".
"The Great Books movement of the last generation has not failed as much as fizzled, not because of any defect in the books - 'the best that has been thought and said,' in Matthew Arnold's phrase - but like good champagne in plastic bottles, they went flat.
To change the figure, the seeds are good but the cultural soil has been depleted; the seminal ideas of Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine and St. Thomas thrive only in an imaginative ground saturated with fables, fairy tales, stories, rhymes, and adventures: the thousand books of Grimm, Anderson, Stevenson, Dickens, Scott, Dumas and the rest.
Taking all that was best of the Greco-Roman world into itself, Western tradition has given us the thousand good books as a preparation for the great ones - and for all studies in the arts and sciences. Without them all studies are inhumane. The brutal athlete and the foppish aesthete suffer vices opposed to the virtue of Newman's gentleman. Anyone working at college, whether in the pure arts and sciences or the practical ones, will discover he has made a quantum leap when he gets even a small amount of cultural ground under him: he will grow up like an undernourished plant suddenly fertilized and watered.
Albert Einstein said:
Other quotes on the value of imagination and fairy tales at Sur La Lune.
"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales."
"When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking."
I went and hunted for the quote because of a discussion going on at Real Learning about the role of Great Books and Good Books in the high school years in the home school.
Oh, that's about all I have time or mental focus for right now. Aidan and Paddy are trying to play SET; Liam, who came home this weekend, is sitting opposite me in front of the fireplace with his laptop; Kieron is constructing with pattern beads; and everyone else seems to be asleep. Aidan's IEP is today. More little details of life in the homeschool over at Every Waking Hour.