Education as escape

Paul Beston writes on the experience of a young man:

He had been a talented but utterly indifferent student, and it is only after he leaves college that he understands what an education really means: “To escape from the little island of the living. To know what thinking men and women have felt and seen and imagined though all the ages of the world. To meet my natural companions among the mighty dead. To walk with them in conversation. To know myself in them, through them. Because they are what we’ve become.”

This young man named Andrew Klavan came to these realizations after coming of age:

Klavan’s is a story of a thoroughly secular man, one who attends college just as postmodernism is coming fully into academic vogue and who knows the world of flesh and money and temptation better than most. He spends his life immersed in secular culture; his touchstones are not obscure. They range from Carole King songs to Raymond Chandler novels, from Faulkner to Shakespeare, Dostoevsky to the Bible, Bar Mitzvahs to baptisms; they include the hunger for experience that puts young men on the American road and the uncanny capacity of baseball to throw out metaphors to those same men, older now, when they need them most.

Don’t we all want to meet our “natural companions among the mighty dead,” so that we might understand our own place better among the living?

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