05 December, 2006

Great Thoughts Anticipate Great Works

My book club will finish reading Towards a Philosophy of Education by Charlotte M. Mason this month. It has taken twenty one months, reading a chapter per month but this has allowed us the time to let it settle deeply within; to be able to chew on it slowly and savor it. I have enjoyed digging deeper into the literary references and in the meaning of her words and oft-times her paragraph-long sentences. She was a Victorian/Edwardian-era Brit, afterall!

She writes:

"The Greeks believed that a training in the use and power of words was the chief part of education, recognising that if the thought fathers the word so does the word in turn father the thought. They concerned themselves with no language, ancient or modern, save their own, but of that they acquired a consummate appreciation.
With their words came great thoughts, expressed in whatever way the emergencies of the state called for--in wise laws, victorious battles, glorious
temples, sculpture, drama. For great thoughts anticipate great works; and these come only to a people conversant with the great thoughts that have been written and said."

Then she goes on to say, "In what strength did the youngest and greatest of our Premiers bring about the "revival of England"? He was fortified by illimitable reading, by a present sense of a thousand impossibilities that had been brought to pass––of a thousand things so wisely said that wise action was a necessary outcome. To say that we as a nation are suffering from our contemptuous depreciation of knowledge is to say that we scorn Letters, the proper vehicle of all knowledge."

~Charlotte Mason (1842-1923), Towards a Philosophy of Education, (Volume 6 page 316)

1 comment:

Carol G said...

I actually like that idea. A chapter a month,huh? I could do that. That is doable for me. Was this the first time through for you? I doubt it! Anyway, congrats on making it through.