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Roger Scruton

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[T]o teach virtue we must educate the emotions, and this means learning "what to feel" in the various circumstances that prompt them.
--
"Knowledge and Feeling" (p. 37)

 
Roger Scruton

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"We can teach no virtues we do not practice," occurred to me this afternoon; for without learning by experience how a virtue is acquired, how can we teach any one to acquire it? I thought of this in connection with the experience of undutiful children. By the working of this natural cause, they will not make their own children dutiful. Read in Luke of the angel which appeared to Christ in Gethsemane, strengthening Him. We all see this angel when we say truly, "Thy will, not mine, be done."

 
Julia Ward Howe
 

What they teach in these acting schools is incredible, hair-raising crap. The Actors Studio in America is supposed to be the worst. There the students learn how to be natural - that is, they flop around, pick their noses, scratch their balls. This bullshit is known as "method acting." How can you "teach" someone to be an actor? How can you teach someone how and what to feel and how to express it? How can someone teach me how to laugh or cry? How to be glad and how to be sad? What pain is, or despair or happiness? What poverty and hunger are? What hate and love are? What desire is, and fulfillment? No, I don't want to waste my time with these arrogant morons.

 
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The case is a good example of what Van Vogt came to call "the violent man" or the "Right Man." He is a man driven by a manic need for self-esteem to feel that he is a "somebody." He is obsessed by the question of "losing face," so will never, under any circumstances, admit that he might be in the wrong.

 
Colin Wilson
 

How can anyone believe that you can "learn" how to feel and learn how to express it? How can anyone teach another person how to laugh and how to cry? How to be cheerful and how to be sad? Teach them what pain is, and despair, and desire, and passion? Hate and love? How can anyone waste their own and somebody else's time with that idiocy? But far worse than the morons who think they can learn these things are the people who claim they can teach them. In the end, they teach bad manners. If one of their trained poodles sits down in public, he doesn't sit, he slouches - which is supposed to mean that his behavior is "natural." He or she scratches his or her head then picks his or her nose, which is supposed to mean that he or she has no complexes and acts very spontaneously. So this is what New York talk shows look like.

 
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We have framed... some questions which in our judgement, are responsive to the actual and immediate as against the fancied and future needs of learners in the world as it is (not as it was). ... There seemed to be little doubt that, from the point of view of the students, these questions made much more sense than the ones they usually have to memorize the right answers to in school. Contrary to conventional school practice, what that means is that we want to elicit from the students the meanings that they have already stored up so that they may subject these meanings to a testing and verifying, reordering and reclassifying, modifying and extending process. In this process the student is not a passive "recipient"; he becomes an active producer of knowledge. The word "educate" is closely related to the word "educe." In the oldest pedagogic sense of the term, this meant a drawing out of a person something potential or latent. We can after all, learn only in relation to what we already know. Again, contrary to common misconceptions, this means that, if we don't know very much, our capability for learning is not very great. This idea virtually by itself requires a major revision in most of the metaphors that shape school policies and procedures.

 
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