Love and Learning

I had the privilege of sharing the stage at the Prairie Troubadour conference two weeks ago with Anthony Esolen, one of the leading Catholic intellectuals of our day.  Rod Dreher quotes Anthony Esolen from his book Out of the Ashes (emphasis mine) ... 


I should stipulate, here, that such programs should not be infested with professors who despise the material they are to teach. It is telling that I should have to say such a thing. For great art is human in this regard too: it does not give up its profoundest secrets except to those who love. Hatred clouds the eyes and hardens the heart. I do not like the Enlightenment, and I have my reasons; therefore I am not the ideal person to introduce students to Hume and Kant. Some people seem to believe that the only way to teach about Western civilization is as an exercise in self-loathing. Such people are not really critics—because the true critic still must love. You cannot have anything interesting to say about Racine and classical French tragedy if its severe moral analysis leaves you cold. Doctor Johnson loved Shakespeare immensely, and that makes his criticism of the bard’s pursuit of the “quibble,” the groan-rousing play on words, all the more impressive and revealing. Love reveals. It is an eye, as Richard of Saint Victor says. No love: no vision.

This can be one of the strengths of homeschooling.   The student is allowed, even encouraged, to discover what he or she loves and to study it.  This is one of the reasons I teach at Homeschool Connections.  I can teach what I love, and students who love what I teach can join me in sharing the vision.

By contrast, DC Schindler writes of

the boredom, the self-protectiveness, the banality, the absence of a sense of mystery and adventure, and the general disenchantment, that characterize a “de-eroticized” world such as that of contemporary America.

The cure for this is what takes us out of ourselves.  The cure for this is love.  With love comes hard work, sacrifice, frustration ... but also new life, here and now, and a glimpse of a greater and newer life to come.