The bard tells us how Helen 's presence aroused even the old men at Troy. Well, your Callie awakens the shades in Elysium! Or one of them, anyhow. She embodies my ideal of the poet-philosopher, able to captivate her audience and not let them go until she has taught them a thing or two. -- I may call you Wesley, may I not? You have certainly elevated yourself in my estimation. Your association with Katherine Anne prompts me to revise my earlier assessment.
Needless to say, I also agree with the tenor of her teaching. Were I a believer in democracy, I should find this purpose of hers even more urgent. But I certainly do not need to say this to you, in daily attendance as you are at the great democratic debacle. Surely you agree that the absurdity of your elections reflects the stultification in your schools. How could it be otherwise?
I should think that the education of Katherine Anne Porter must surely tell you something about teaching. She, of course, has the good taste to conceal, even to dissemble, the condition of Texas schools around c.u. 2650, when she is subjected to them--pardon me, you might say around 1900. At fifteen years of age, she just gives up and opens a school of her own! Her pupils come to her because of their desire to learn, that one indispensable factor in learning. They bring what you call motivation, which cannot be taught--woe betide the teacher who attempts it!
Even though Roman praeceptors are chosen from the most learned class in the pacified nations, one of them attempting to ingratiate himself with the pupils would be subject to crucifixion. On the one hand, most paedagogues are Greek, and we all know the Greek proclivities. Furthermore, there is ever the dread of renewed conspiracy among the slaves. But entirely aside from criminal considerations, who can imagine more benighted paedagogy than to deprive learning of its own spontaneity, to interfere with the learner's natural zest and inquisitiveness? If your self-appointed careerist teachers suspect in the children such qualities as they have not themselves, then they squelch them of course. As to our praeceptors in Rome, they are the pick of the slave litter.
I wonder that Katherine Anne Porter's great learning did not cause some among you to wonder how she comes by it, perhaps even to elevate the Dust Bowl as a focus of true learning. But then I would think you must also recognize the paradox that, while democracy requires an educated populace, democracy at the same time renders education impossible.
With all best wishes, your
Please return to Professor Worthy's Page Home
or see the correspondence with Cicero.