Rags. Petrol. Matches.
By Ed Driscoll · March 25, 2006 09:27 AM · Bobos In Paradise · Radical Chic · The Return of the Primitive
On the flight out to New Jersey, I read Theodore Dalrymple's superb essay (that's a redundant phrase, isn't it?) on Virginia Woolf:
Mrs. Woolf’s ideal college—the kind that would prevent rather than promote wars—would not be in any way elitist. It would “not [be] parcelled out into the miserable distinctions of rich and poor, of clever and stupid.” It would, rather, be a place “where all the different degrees and kinds of mind, body and soul met and co-operated.” It would be entirely nonjudgmental, even as to intellect. For her, the urge to compete does not inhere in man’s nature, nor does it result in anything other than violent strife. Henceforth, there is to be no testing oneself against the best, with the possibility, even the likelihood, of failure: instead, one is perpetually to immerse oneself in the tepid bath of self-esteem, mutual congratulation, and benevolence toward all.But Woolf was far from alone in this; hating all that had gone on before was one the themes of the 20th century, as a Wolfe of an entirely different coat (white garbadine, typically) once wrote:
“Start from zero” was the slogan of the Bauhaus School, a tiny artists’ movement in Germany in the 1920s that swept aside the architectural styles of the past and created the glass-box face of the modern American city during the twentieth century. I should mention the soaring exuberance with which the movement began, the passionate conviction of the Bauhaus’s leader, Walter Gropius, that by starting from zero in architecture and design man could free himself from the dead hand of the past.Of course, western civilization isn't the only culture that could benefit from the Great Relearning.
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