Admiring vs. Speculating

» Posted by on Jul 17, 2013 in Blog, Childhood Wonder, Mission-Type Stuff, On the Learning, Poetic Knowledge | Comments Off on Admiring vs. Speculating

One thing that today’s educators can take from 8th century monks (who were running schools and preserving Bibles in the darkest of times in the West) is knowing to admire where many would speculate. Too often learning is pursued mainly for curiosity, and no matter what we are studying, the intent is on speculation and forming questions. But if we want students to understand a good thing, then we must help them begin with a love and desire for it. It doesn’t begin with analysis and dissection, but rather, devotion. As a monastic scholar puts it, “admiration” and “speculation” are both words that “describe the act of looking. But the gaze of admiration adds something to the gaze of speculation. It does not necessarily see any farther, but the little it does perceive is enough to fill the whole soul of the contemplative with joy and thanksgiving.” This describes the monks’ approach to Scripture and knowledge of God, and it has much to tell us about what should go on in the Christ-centered school day of a modern kid. Speculation has its place in academics, but it is not to be the dominant vision of those studying an object of beauty, or a word of truth. Let them admire, and then dig in to understand.

(citation from Jean Leclercq’s The Love for Learning and the Desire for God, ch. 9, trans. by Catharine Misrahi)