Mythology and philosophy were the two pillars that established early society. Without them, the world would have remained an infinite wilderness of cracks and crags with darkness all around; mythology and philosophy brought light to an otherwise abysmal landscape, and it was good. Early humanity gathered round the fire to dispense their didactic tales about the stars and trees, antelopes and the sea, legendary men and women from unknown lands, fantastical gods and goddesses who warred in the sky and breached the threshold of the heavens to bestow gifts and punishments to mankind.
Stories are the most powerful tool for communicating truth. Truth is a logos and idea that must be incarnated for the mind to apprehend it, to contemplate it, and then to incarnate it itself. The classical educator, the parent, the teacher, the mentor, each leads another in the hope that the student, child, or apprentice will accept the truth he is teaching and act on it. Stories are the most powerful tool for teaching, in this sense.
A while back, in my rhetoric class, my students and I finished studying a number of short stories to look at persuasion’s role in fiction. Among the stories, “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne evoked the most rewarding discussion (maybe the year’s best).
I have been told that fear of math is irrational. Perhaps this is so, but it seems very rational to acknowledge one’s algebraic limitations or to express a tested dislike of geometry.
This post is presented in partnership with our friends at Story Warren.
Babe is a children’s novel about a pig who becomes a sheep dog. Pig. Sheep-pig! Despite this deeply philosophical foundation, it’s a funny, enjoyable tale.
In the last third of the book, there is a scene where wild dogs break in and worry the flock of sheep, killing an old ewe who was one of Babe’s dearest friends.
Yesterday we posted an article by one Mr. Andrew Kern in which the author attacks progressive education for the way it teaches children to read. He claims that "...when we teach reading, we treat the child like she is a mechanism learning a process. We do not teach it like she is a person interacting with ideas." And then this: