Thursday 5 August 2010

Lost Tools of Learning

I thought readers might like to know about an article by Brad Birzer (author of a good book on Christopher Dawson) over on the "Imaginative Conservative" blog concerning the importance of the Liberal Arts revival for the future of Western civilization: What Might Help Hold Us Together. Also recommended is The End of Literature by Ben Lockerd.

Barbara J. Elliott writes on the same blog. In her The Power of Beauty, she says:
Art has the twin functions of reflecting a culture and shaping it. The problem that contemporary artists face is a difficult one: how to express meaning to a world which has become culturally over-stimulated by the spectacular, hyper-sexualized, dumbed-down by inanity, and increasingly antagonistic to manifestations of Christianity. Some of the artists who are here this week struggle to believe that the vocation as an artist – especially a Christian artist – has any meaning or value at all. They are at the edge of redefining and creating anew with moral imagination a vision of the True, the Good and the Beautiful that has been all but exterminated in Western culture.
She goes on to analyse the defects and influence of modernism in the arts, and calls for a "second culture". I get nervous when words like "conservative" are used as labels, so it is worth mentioning that these guys are in the tradition of Russell Kirk, Christopher Dawson and T.S. Eliot.

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