in the din of the present

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Nov 05, 2007

Earlier this year I called attention to R.R. Reno's excellent remarks on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the publication of Allen Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind. Reno was mainly concerned how the changes Bloom described had affected university life. In the current New Criterion, Mark Steyn has some incisive commentary on Bloom's observations with respect to the larger picture:

"Popular culture" is more accurately a "present-tense culture": You're celebrating the millennium but you can barely conceive of anything before the mid-1960s. We're at school longer than any society in human history, entering kindergarten at four or five and leaving college the best part of a quarter-century later -- or thirty years later in Germany. Yet in all those decades we exist in the din of the present. A classical education considers society as a kind of iceberg, and teaches you the seven-eighths below the surface. Today, we live on the top eighth bobbing around in the flotsam and jetsam of the here and now. And, without the seven-eighths under the water, what's left on the surface gets thinner and thinner.

One more reason not to let the liturgy get absorbed entirely into the present-tense culture.

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