Education and the Visio Dei

At Priceton University, we regard education as a supreme human asset, which has nothing whatever to do with “training” or “socialization”, for either employment or life.

In an age in which organized religion is almost universally moribund, education is practically the only itinerarium ad mentem Dei available. Communing with the continuous tradition of Western literature, art, symbolism, and thought translates one out of the order of the temporal and mundane onto what the religious historian T.H. Gaster called the “durative plane” (the erstwhile functions of ritual and myth). In so doing, education ushers one into another dimension of being, no less real, and no less human.

The ancients thought of this as the world-order of Spirit, and regarded it, simultaneously, as absolutely transcendent and immediately immanent within the depths of the soul. Plato called it the World of Ideas (well aware of the objective and subjective connotations of the word “idea”), and was certainly convinced that education leads us out of (< L. e-ducere) this finite and mutable realm into the infinite and eternal.