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Evil triumphs when good men do nothing - Edmund Burke

Friday, January 29, 2010

Considerations on Catholic Culture- Part 3 - Prof Plinio Correa de Olivera

How one acquires culture
Everything a man learns with the senses or intelligence exercises an effect over the powers of his soul. A person may free himself more, less, or even entirely from this effect, according to the case, but in itself each measure of knowledge acquired tends to exercise an effect over him. As we already said, cultural action consists in accentuating all the effects that refine and in curbing those that do not. Well understood, reflection is the first of the positive means of action. Much, much more than a bookworm, a walking encyclopedia of facts, dates, names, and texts, the man of culture ought to be a thinker. And for the man who thinks, the principal book is the reality before his eyes, the author most consulted is himself, while the other authors and books, albeit precious elements, are clearly subsidiary. Nevertheless, mere reflection is not enough. Man is not a pure spirit. Through an affinity that is not just conventional, there exists a link between the superior realities he considers with his intelligence and the colors, sounds, forms, and aromas he perceives through his senses. The cultural effort is only complete when man absorbs, through these sensible channels, the entire essence of the values his intelligence considers. Song, poetry, and art have exactly this as their end. And it is through an accurate and superior interrelationship with what is beautiful (rightfully understood, it is clear) that the soul entirely absorbs truth and good.

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