We Are All Autodidacts Now

I am most of the way through Allan Bloom’s seminal “The Closing of the American Mind”. It’s an eye-opening, heavy, philosophical analysis of our current state. It has a lot to say, primarily how German philosophy has infected our Republic, and how our egalitarian system is devolving into totalitarianism because we have replaced truth with values, and tradition with culture, and reason with experience. It’s a long book. Very technical. But one thing it has challenged me in is this – I need a better philosophy. I have always read a lot of history, because my instinct told me that I needed a broad, birds-eye view of the world so I could understand it better. This is certainly true. But history alone cannot answer the question of “why?”. Which is where philosophy comes in. So, I am going to start on Mortimer Adler’s reading list, and go from there. I have no expectation that I will agree with all of it. That’s not the purpose. The purpose rather is to understand the thinking that shaped Western Civilization. It’s to absorb enough thought that you begin to gain perspective. You gain a better notion of the “why” behind things, and hence, can better shape and inform your own thinking. It’s a hefty list. It will take awhile. And I will no doubt find myself following forks of thought as I encounter them. We have to learn how to think better than we do. Our educational systems can no longer be relied upon to teach us. We are all autodidacts now.