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Search for truth in nature

March 15, 2020

The search for truth is associated with “schools” that were first developed in Athens of the time that Socrates and Sophists contended with one another to educate young men of wealthy families.

The concept “Groves of academe” captures the idea of these early schools.

That world was described by Horace, the 1st-century Roman poet, who exhorted seekers of truth: “And seek for truth in the groves of Academe.’

More recently, Simon Schama writes in Landscape and Memory that artistic depiction of groves of Evergreen fir trees were “at the heart of  one of our most powerful yearnings:  the craving to find in nature a consolation for our morality.”

An example of that yearning cited by Dr. Schama is a painting by Caspar David Friedrich, “The Cross and Cathedral in the Mountains.”

The failure of American education to introduce students to those “Groves” and address that yearning is the great tragedy of American higher education in the 21st century.

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