Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Essay:: "The Moral Obligation To Be Intelligent." John Erskine.

One-minute review: Intelligence has been criticized as merely being clever or evil. However, Erskine says that intelligence leads to vision.


“Here is the causal assumption that a choice must be made between goodness and intelligence.”

“…but to establish the point that English literature voices a traditional distrust of the mind we must go to the masters. In Shakespeare’s plays there are some highly intelligent men, but they are either villains or tragic victims.”

In Paradise Lost Milton attributes intelligence of the highest order to the devil.”

“It is disconcerting to intelligence that it should be God’s angel who cautions Adam not to wander the earth, nor inquire concerning heaven’s causes and ends, but that it should be Satan meanwhile who questions and explores.”

“Those of us who frankly prefer character to intelligence….”

“…Matthew Arnold’s famous plea for culture. The purpose of culture, he said, is ‘to make reason and the will of God prevail.’ ”

“So we forget the shocking blunder of the charge of the Light Brigade, and proudly sing the heroism of the victims…. The reading of stupidity in terms of the tragic courage that endures its results….”

“…we curse the obstacles of life as though they were devils. But they are not devils. They are obstacles.”

“Yet, if intelligence begins in a pang, it proceeds to a vision.”

“But all that intelligence has accomplished dwindles in comparison with the vision it suggests and warrants.”

Great Essays. Ed. Houston Peterson. New York: Washington Square Press, Inc. 1960.

What is an essay? “They are all prefaces. A preface is nothing but a talk with the reader; and they [essays] do nothing else.” Charles Lamb.

No comments:

Post a Comment