Classical Education a Salve for Trauma from Politics?

Weird political events are traumatic and “trauma” means the protective membrane around the self has been punctured.  What is the membrane?  The membrane is a membrane of expectations that the next event will fall between let’s say -3 and +3.  An event of -25 disorients and traumatizes.  How do we know the next event will not be -1 billion?

The salve is a classical education.  We read Suetonius we read Homer and we imagine what it would be like if we were at the siege of Troy, or having our eyes gouged out by a crab in the hands of Tiberius’s henchman in his pleasure villa in Capri.  This gives us a sense of the sort of ups and downs human history, particularly political history is capable of.   We get to engage with thinkers who were frank proponents of views that we or those in our social class do not take seriously: slavery, ephebophilia, the worship of the emperor or the mystagogues of Eleusis.

Chinese classics too.


5 thoughts on “Classical Education a Salve for Trauma from Politics?

  1. Thanks for this! I keep groping for why a college education is a good thing, and can only come up with vague bromides about “learning about the world”, which I think is unpersuasive. This is a great reason! Perspective.

  2. ‘that the next even will fall’ – is that supposed to be ‘event’?

    Could that salve be described as kind of like an immunisation – like a dead virus, those events give a sense of scale, making the -25 more of a -16 and other negatives being rescaled in comparison to the horrific experience never experienced because it’s just a text (like an immunisation is experiencing a virus without actually experiencing it)

    • On reflection I’ve probably over emphasized the protection idea, rather than the learning from history (without going through that history) part. Hmmm. Becoming inured isn’t what I meant…or isn’t what I should have meant.

  3. The amniotic membrane idea is really interesting (to me, a parallel development of an idea – though it’d be the other way round for you, lol!) – I’d like to put a vote in for looking at the idea some more! 🙂 For example, map it against movies for example, like ‘the good guys always wins’. A example of membrane reinforced in art?

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