Thought for the Day

The poetic consciousness reveals “moral insights which are the sources of human normality, and which make possible order and justice and freedom.” The influence of great literature makes possible the linking of one generation to another.

From Russell Kirk and the Age of Ideology by W. Wesley McDonald.

About the author

Kevin Holtsberry

I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season – oh, and watching golf too).

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5 Comments

  • But is there any respect for this poetic consciousness? In a secular world where brain science scans the mind-flesh in order to determine that all thinking is mere functionality, moral insights are merely sunspots on the sun of human thought. Simply eruptions.

  • Frankly, I think “poetic consciousness” is about as far from “human normality” as it is possible to be. It’s usually a direct challenge to this normality. The “prosaic consciousness” would be more like it. It’s really a mistake (again, in my opinion) to try so hard to link literature and morality. The first is not superior to the latter, but moral discourse ought to be something separate from literature, a level of discourse that doesn’t need to be “hidden away” in works of literature.

  • Frankly, I think “poetic consciousness” is about as far from “human normality” as it is possible to be. It’s usually a direct challenge to this normality. The “prosaic consciousness” would be more like it. It’s really a mistake (again, in my opinion) to try so hard to link literature and morality. The first is not superior to the latter, but moral discourse ought to be something separate from literature, a level of discourse that doesn’t need to be “hidden away” in works of literature.

  • Daniel,

    Read Shelley’s Defense of Poetry. “. . . poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.”
    In the sense he means it, he’s right. Morality and law which derives from it may be “natural” but someone has to realize it, define, defend, and instill it. Someone has to talk to God or gods and report back to the tribe.

  • Daniel,

    Read Shelley’s Defense of Poetry. “. . . poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.”
    In the sense he means it, he’s right. Morality and law which derives from it may be “natural” but someone has to realize it, define, defend, and instill it. Someone has to talk to God or gods and report back to the tribe.