Jacques Barzun Observations on Culture and Decline

Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 5 months, 3 weeks ago to Books
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Reflections from one of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century.

The article lists 13 observations that I couldn't agree with more...I have got to read his work. It's the likes of which would likely land him in jail these days.

Anyone else familiar with this work?
SOURCE URL: http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/blog/jacques-barzun-observations-culture-and-decline


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  • Posted by  $  5 months, 3 weeks ago
    I particularly like this one...It's observable.

    4. “Individuals of ordinary talent or glibness were encouraged to become professionals and thereby doomed to disappointment; and too many others, with just enough ability to get by, contributed to the lowering of standards and the surfeit of art.” – From Dawn to Decadence
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  • Posted by  $  pixelate 5 months, 2 weeks ago
    Thanks for the link. Regarding: 2. “Finding oneself [is] a misnomer: a self is not found but made.” – From Dawn to Decadence

    I must disagree.
    Age-wise, I am in my mid 50's.
    For the past two years, I have been taking guitar lessons -- good instructors, location, focus... and yet, after two years, I have not so much as a song memorized.
    I have also been running ultras for the past few years -- I can literally show up and run a 100 miler without a blister, hot spot or indication that I've been running for 25+ hours.

    I believe that the formula for success, absent the variables and math, is to "focus on your strengths."
    And this is what is meant by "finding oneself." It means figuring out the cards that you have been dealt in the genetic crapshoot of life by way of broad spectrum exposure to various skills, professions, avocations, recreations -- and finding those areas where individual talent exists. Then, put the effort into those areas. It is the execution of a continuous Costs-Benefits-Analysis.

    Look at Atlas Shrugged. There is, of course, John Galt ... he came out of nowhere, and exercised what he found to be his talents. But we also have the driver of the expertly driven bus, the man who served the food for Dan Conway and his guests, plus a host of other "walking at street level" folks that found their particular areas of talent and placed their efforts accordingly. Do you suppose that the bus-driver could have achieved the likes of John Galt had he worked really hard to become an inventor / energy physicist? Play the hand that you've been dealt -- and do so by carefully and honestly figuring out the cards that you hold.

    I will still get my hands on the book "From Dawn to Decadence" as I am always looking for a good read.
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  • Posted by  $  Stormi 5 months, 3 weeks ago
    My favorite was that no one can teach a subject ...only how to learn it.
    II was lucky enough to have an English prof. who on day one of class, handed out a 13-page syllabus with the dates and details of tests and projects for he semester, after which he never mentioned it again. He said that is how the adult world works. He also told students he could not teach them English, but would teach them how to learn it, and the rest was up to them. I truly admire that prof. , as by then I had begun reading Ayn Rand, and knew that is how ti should be. I was lucky that we also read some Barzun those years as well. Who knows what they read now!
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