When I first officially started home schooling my children I didn’t have much to go on – just the idea that I wanted them to have a real childhood, something like what C.S. Lewis described in Surprised by Joy and what Raymond and Dorothy Moore described in Home-Grown Kids. So even though I’ve gone through various phases and have changed focus in various ways over the years, what we’ve done has generally been pretty relaxed in one sense, but academically challenging in another.
An awful lot of what Taylor is writing about is putting words to things that I had a vague idea of before, but plenty of it is stuff I’ve never heard of before and can barely understand. I finished reading this section on Friday and I freely admit to having to wade through several pages that felt like a marsh full of reeds, hoping for some solid ground to put my feet on or a tree I could cling to or something.
When the time came to begin writing this post I found that though I’d liked several passages I didn’t have anything to say, so I turned to my eldest daughter and asked her to read the section and pose a question or three for me to answer, since I function better in conversation mode than in essay mode. She took the book read over it, and less than an hour later presented me with the following:
“How does the idea that the most basic form of knowledge of being entails “getting inside it and possessing it spiritually… unassisted by rational dialogue” relate to your studies of astronomy?”
“At this level of knowledge, is the initial “estimation” of a thing’s goodness or badness more or less likely to be correct?”
“Taylor uses philosophical terms in the same way lawyers and doctors use obscure language in text books. Can his ideas be understood through poetic knowledge, or is a “rational act” required to decipher the meaning?”
“Absolute truth – objective truth – subjective truth –
Which one is the Bible?”
If Aquinas is right (p. 62), then chameleons are higher life forms than humans.
TRUE or FALSE
I admit that I am almost completely stumped. She is at least ten times smarter than I am, and I like to take some credit for it, because I am, after all, the one who provided her education. My second daughter disagrees. She says that it’s because “genius skips a generation” and Eldest Daughter got it from my daddy. That young lady will be on bread and water for the rest of the week.
Well, if I worked really hard maybe I could come up with answers to a couple of those, but instead I think I’ll go ahead and grant Eldest Daughter her Bachelor of Arts.
In the meantime, here are some of the passages from the book that caught my eye:
“It is the habit of noticing what is happening here and now
and reflecting with the natural powers upon that experience
that cultivates the connatural degree of knowledge.”
“Here, where the ordinary becomes illuminated, is when the habit of poetry sees something marvelous in the thing itself, especially in its relation to another real thing where the art of juxtaposition and metaphor produce a third thing.”
“Poetic knowledge is the wonder of the thing itself—not the essences of trees but the stately presence of the hawthorn in summer is the stuff of poetic experience.”
“Wholeness and integration…”
“…we are, throughout, poetic beings even as we live and move among the most ordinary and everyday experiences.”
“It is this ‘ordinary’ and ‘everyday functioning’ of the mind with reality that is poetic, that is knowledge, and informs all that can be learned, that most people in the present day have ceased to believe in.”
“What is important is engagement with reality, not simply discerning of reality.”
“…it is the appetites that move us toward the perceived good.”
one becomes like what one loves…”