The Closing of the American Mind
Every page of the “The Closing of the American Mind” by Allan Bloom presents many interesting ideas impressing readers by clarity, truth and outrageousness. Actually, Bloom’s book provides in-depth analysis of the problem why higher education system fails to develop democracy impoverishing pockets and souls of many students. In the introduction the author discusses our virtue and openness. In particular, Bloom refers to twos orts of openness. The first one suggests that a person should be open to animates and philosophies or, in other words, such person is open to learning. The second is considered to be responsible for the closing or, simply saying, it is the openness of indifference.
Bloom discusses cultural relativism as one of the sorts of openness. He claims that primary education aims at showing that cultural relativism is important for openness, but “the point is not correct the mistakes and really be right; rather it is not to think you are right all”. Further, Bloom argues that only Western society doubts identification of the God, whereas most of the non-Western societies are willing to prove that their culture is superior to others opposing Western thought. Therefore, our students are forced to study other cultures instead of benefiting their own cultures. Bloom asserts that by doing that Western Prejudice is applied and determines our nation as ‘culture beings’ and says that we are provided with instruments which liberates from own culture.
In “The Clean Slate” Bloom continues to discuss openness determining it as virtue allowing us to search for truth and the good referring to reasoning. It suggests that we need to accept everything and to deny the power of human reasoning. Therefore, Bloom argues that cultural relativism destroys the good in person. Bloom notes that philosophies are existential, though they should be associated with anarchy. Instead, philosophies should be accessible to all humans through their power of reasoning and thinking. The United States is “one of the highest and most extreme achievements of the rational quest for the good life according to nature”. We need to prevent prejudice by means of removing the power of reasoning because it is, according to Bloom, ineffective instrument of correcting prejudices.
Only Greek philosophers were able to comprehend the essence of openness. Modern man will never be satisfied with what the culture gives him. Prejudices are necessary of studying simply because they are visions of the way things are arranged in the world. The mind without prejudices is empty and, therefore, education is defined as recognizing prejudices from prejudices. Nevertheless, modern educational systems tend to remove prejudices from students’ minds making their souls impoverished. Institutionalism destroyed spirit as well.
Bloom goes further to discussing the importance of moral education and religion stressing that their vanishing would destroy human development as individual. When speaking about religion, Bloom argues that this fundamental element is disappearing. The respect for the sacred, bible teachings and religious knowledge is at the vanishing point and it is awful because all humans should develop their spirituality in accordance with their cultural beliefs. Moreover, Bloom doesn’t believe that current nation is able to receive Master’s or Ph. degree.
The same situation is observed with moral education of students. The primary goal of education should be providing children with values, but this idea can’t be applied to all educational institutions. Moreover, modern parent fail to realize their own beliefs and can’t teach them their children. Therefore, children tend to develop their sets of morals and beliefs which are often distorted. Young generation tends to be practical and their ideology is very sensitive being in harmony with liberal society.
Bloom, Allan. The Closing of the American Mind. USA, Chicago: Simon & Schuster, 1988.