Brian Gatz's Reviews > The Closing of the American Mind

The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom
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May 08, 12

Read from April 27 to 30, 2012

I wish I could say more, but I've left my copy behind. Now it's been about a week since I've read it. I'll see what I remember--more so what it has left me. ---There's no question left us that we slouch through college (was anything interesting those four years?). The classes pass easily or pointlessly (general writing, communication, business calculus, light philosophy better adapted to middle school). If you decide on a major in the humanities, your peers (mostly in business or teaching) treat your studies contemptuously (of course they've already figured out how to live). Worse, the professors abandon you to postmodern or--even more distressing--quasi-scientific critics with whom you'll gain no ground on the wasteland all left to us. --Bloom doesn't blame the students: they're still curious and sharp, waiting for that direction, the help, the mentor to teach how to live and why, not just technical arrogance and utility. What, though, is one to do as schooling becomes only a reason to learn business practice before being paid? And more, if the university's base of knowledge pays out and cashes in solely through the hard sciences, why should anyone care for take care of Grecian urns, Greek tragedies, gods, religions, poets, social thinkers? You're abandoned at the gate. Either take the numbers and push them into your culture or run into the loving arms of what money might measure (see economics for the dead end that is social science in these years of count and measure--to know the price of everything and value of nothing, per Wilde). --I went to a mid-size state university a decade and a half after Bloom put this book together, so I think--trickle-down, etc--my schooling came to me much the same way described here. Though I found no Alan Bloom back then. Instead, here and now, you take it when it comes. Find those six thousand years of history (or at least the 2500 gets us to Greece universals). There are heroes, exemplars of the life well lived--don't let us be late in finding them.
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