Train the Imagination

As educators, why should we value the classics? Fr. Nicolás asked. A better question, he says, is: Where do we look for the classics?

As educators, why should we value the classics? Fr. Nicolás asked. “In one study on education, a reference to Saint Ignatius noted that he supported education with the classics because the classics train the imagination,” he said. “Of course, what was considered a classic in the 16th century might seem a bit unfamiliar to us now. But still the challenge continues. If the classics train the imagination, we need them. Maybe our question today is: Where do we look for the classics? Is it still Greece and Rome? Or can we look at China, Japan, India? Can we look at the classics of the indigenous communities in different parts of the world – Africa, Latin America, and elsewhere? What we need is to open the whole range of the human mind. That’s what the classics did for us in the past, and this is something that we have to continue asking.”

Believe in something

“A professor of philosophy in the United States told me,” Fr. Nicolás said, “that among his students he prefers to have a convinced Communist, a convinced atheist, or a convinced Muslim rather than those who have no convictions, for whom everything is the same – because they cannot learn philosophy. They have nothing to protect, nothing to engage into discussion, nothing to put them on a situation of learning. Everything is equally irrelevant.”

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