Wednesdays with Words: A Properly Tuned Soul

I’ve been “off again” reading The Liberal Arts Tradition by Kevin Clark and Ravi Scott Jain in my “on again-off again” reading.  But when my reading was “on again,” I marked it heavily.  It is so very good.  I wanted to share this quote from quite a while ago because it is my goal (for the third week in a row) to finish the book this week. 

Musical education is soul-craft: carried out properly it tunes the soul, and makes one receptive to truth and goodness … At the very source of the classical education tradition, then, we find the formative and foundational importance of a properly tuned soul.

Then, they go on to expound upon The Abolition of Man by Lewis:

Lewis’s argument unfolds something like this: 1) judgements about the good (ethics) and the beautiful (aesthetics) are not merely descriptions of one’s personal feelings, but objective responses to reality; 2) the ability to make these judgements is not something we learn the way we learn things such as math or science, but is a function of the intuition and imagination; 3) these judgements are nevertheless reasonable because value judgements and even reason itself are upheld by the intuition and imagination; 4) the imagination and intuition are enculturated, that is, formed throug the process Plato referred to as musical education. (pg 27, emphasis mine)

What are you reading?



  1. Ah, you're the one reading The Liberal Arts Tradition! I knew one of my blog buddies was, but I couldn't remember which one. Ravi Jain was at the CiRCE conference, and I got to ask him what I should do with my kids next. Since I didn't do a regular math curriculum with them it's hard to figure out where to go — most curricula assume you've been with them since the beginning, so it's nearly impossible to jump in when the kids are ready for formal algebra and geometry. He suggested Mathematics for the Nonmathematician, which I've bought and will be starting when we finish Horace Grant's second book.

    1. I'll be interested in how that goes. We're more traditional with our maths, but I've been watching your investigations 🙂

    2. I'm beginning to think that this is right-brain issue for me, and most of my kids are right-brained too, so I'm trying really hard to figure it out so they won't be handicapped like I was.

      Also, the reading on classical education I've been doing is making me angry. Prior to the 1800s most early education seems to have been the kind that right-brained kids do well at. Left-brained kids seem to do well with the methods we've been using the past couple hundred years, OR with the older ways. But right-brained kids suffer with the more recent methods.

      I'm pretty sure that this is because modern education (the Prussian model, you know) isn't about educating children. It's about vetting future citizens. You need to know which ones are going to be your lawyers and engineers, which ones are going to fill clerical and bureaucratic positions, and which ones are going to be cannon fodder.

      Just makes me so mad I could spit.

  2. A properly tuned soul…

    Love that! It reminds me of some lines I copied out years ago that stressed the importance of psalmody in light of the fact that it brings the soul into tune. I'll have to go see if I can find those now…

    1. Ha! Found it! I forgot I blogged about it.

      It was St. Athanasius who said "…he who sings well [speaking of singing psalms and hymns in church] puts his soul in tune, correcting by degrees its faulty rhythm"

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