ERIC Number: ED244667
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Nov
In Defense of Tradition.
A disturbing trend is developing in higher education which may jeopardize the quality and importance of the classical tradition in education. This trend is exemplified by demands that the liberal arts be made relevant and comprehensible to the student and that they be related in some way to the search for a good job. The great classical literature, such as "The Republic,""The Iliad," or "Medea," are relegated to the useless or the irrelevant, while examples of popular culture, such as "The Mary Tyler Moore Show,""Shane," and "M.A.S.H." are elevated to the position of "modern classics." Popularity and cleverness have become the criteria for judging value in art, literature, and music, replacing such qualities as universality and historical judgement. These new criteria would have consigned "Moby Dick" or the works of Gauguin to permanent obscurity, since they failed according to the criterion of popularity. The classics, however, have had a profound influence on the understanding of significant issues, moral concerns, and enduring questions that have confronted mankind during the ages. They have provided links between peoples, systems, and disciplines; and, despite the challenges of high-speed information processing, sythesized and summarized learning, and popular culture in general, the classics and liberal arts offer the only genuine, lifelong answers to the perennial questions of human existence. They must be elevated above any attempts to bend and shape them into superficial job-related worlds and needs. (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at a Meeting of the Community College Humanities Association (Hartford, CT, November 4-5, 1983).