Showing posts with label The Closing of the American Mind (Allen Bloom). Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Closing of the American Mind (Allen Bloom). Show all posts


The Closing of the American Mind (Allen Bloom)

The book, The Closing of the American Mind (Allen Bloom) attributed most problems-in the USA today to the Humanities and Social Studies departments of universities.

What I recommend instead is to learn the basic program of the Rambam, the Oral and Written Law, plus Modern Physics and Metaphysics of Aristotle. That plus Musar.
And for Musar {Mediaeval Ethics} I mainly think the best thing out there is the כוכבי אור [Stars of Light] by a disciple of Reb Israel Salanter, Isaac Blazer.

[I myself have a fascination with classical learning but today if you would want to learn that stuff, it is best to do it on your own. I doubt if the Rambam would agree with any of it. At least Kant he would include in his program of Metaphysics.]

On a side note:

The Gra would agree about the seven wisdoms. That is the Trivium and Quadrivium-grammar, rhetoric, and logic,arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy. See the introduction of Reb Baruch of Shkolov on his translation of Euclid. He quotes the Gra: to the degree that one lacks knowledge in any one of the seven wisdoms to that degree times a hundred he will lack in understanding of the Torah.

What I like about the Stars of Light  is how he makes the whole idea of Musar clear--fear of God and good midot {character}. Astronomy today is mostly Physics so there the Gra and the Rambam are on the same page. Geometry today is mainly Algebraic Topology and for that I recommend the book by Allen Hatcher. 

Incidentally in the Stars of Light, Rav Isaac Blazer does go into the importance of making a special place to learn Musar, but that never took off the ground. Rather Musar got absorbed into the straight Litvak (Lithuanian) yeshivas and that is where I think it has the most benefit. [These are yeshivas that follow roughly the path of the Gra, Rav Eliyahu from Villna.]