This same pragmatic attitude — “This is not useful; this will not help me make money” — explains why Latin and Greek have disappeared from school curricula. The value of these two crucial European tongues is no longer understood by contemporary man, whose outlook is totally geared toward accumulating wealth. Now that English is spoken all over the world, most Americans are not interested in learning foreign languages — a knowledge that is deeply enriching and enables one to penetrate into the souls of other peoples. Every language expresses a way of looking at the world. Saying “I can get along without it” is true enough, but once again, it eliminates the dimension of authentic culture. How right Plato was when he praised the importance of tradition — this golden cord linking us with the past. To cut oneself off from this source of knowledge, beauty, and culture is to opt for a world stripped of spirituality and greatness.
No doubt, the “trousered ape” has made his proofs: By pressing a button, he can watch scenes taking place thousands of miles away. But, alas, by pressing a button, he is now capable of destroying a world that he could not have created. Economically speaking, modern man is richer and richer; spiritually speaking, he is bereft.
Authentic culture can only be resurrected by remembering that man is not an animal with a remarkably developed brain but a person made in God’s image and likeness. True culture can only blossom in a world steeped in reverence and a consciousness of man’s spiritual dignity.
This article originally published at Crisis.