The Failings of Blooms Prescription for American Education.
Humanity as a whole has always been ignorant. We have stumbled forward blindly repeating history. Collectively we have made great strides in technology and are now able to do astounding things. We can perform feats that at one time would have been considered miracles. Yet for all our vaunted achievements we have made very little progress in understanding ourselves, our place in the universe, where we are heading as a species, the nature of our souls, whether or not we have souls, etc. These questions have become the timeless enigmas of humanity, well known and accepted by all as unanswerable. However, as Allan Bloom points out in The Closing of the American Mind, it is not the answers that humanity needs and thrives upon; instead it is the questions themselves that provide spiritual and intellectual fuel for the human race. Merely by asking and discussing them and by providing an adequate environment for such discussion are we able to be proper caretakers of the tradition of philosophy. The problem we face is that almost no one seriously poses such questions any longer. The questions and their askers are the object of scorn and ridicule, and unfortunately, they seem to cower from these attacks. The university has traditionally been the haven of free thinkers, the last bastion of philosophic inquiry, isolated and surrounded by brutes and automatons. As America has gained prominence in the worlds political and social arenas, the university and its greatest treasure have been abandoned to the wolves. The failures of American education and its society have sent philosophy on a downward spiral that has left the intellectual climate of our country a barren desert, with a few remaining trees to remind us of the forest that once grew. Through his book, Bloom has made an admirable attempt to revitalize the conversation of the university in the hope that this conversation will perpetuate itself.