Stratford Caldecott is da bomb.
First he quotes an obscure work titled The Didascalicon of someone named Hugh of Saint Victor and in a twinkling of the quote we have the fog part on the trivium:
‘Grammar is the knowledge of how to speak without error; dialectic is clear-sighted argument which separates the true from the false; rhetoric is the discipline of persuading to every suitable thing.’
Then Caldecott takes up the clay and remolds it once again so that we can finally 'get it.'
"That is the reason you will find the chapter on Grammar headed ‘Remembering,’ the one on Dialectic headed ‘Thinking,’ and the one on Rhetoric headed ‘Speaking.’ I wanted to emphasize the fact that we are discussing the fundamental skills of humanity itself. So under ‘Remembering’ I reflect on the birth of language and how Being reveals itself in speech. Under ‘Thinking’ I am concerned more precisely with the use of language to reveal what is true and what is not, and the question of how we know which is which. Under ‘Speaking’ I look at how we communicate what we know to others within a moral community of free persons."
Once he nails down the word 'remembering' we are like birds set free. We are, indeed, free-free from the chains of grammar. Yes, yes, we want to teach grammar but we want to teach it as free men not slaves.
Then Caldecott channels our dear Charlotte, as he should:
"The seven liberal arts were in any case never intended to constitute the whole of education. They were embedded in a broader tradition of paideia or human formation, which included ‘gymnastics’ for the education of the body and ‘music’ for the education of the soul (terms that have changed and narrowed in meaning over the centuries)."
Finally, he begins, in the Introduction no less, to explore the connections between the poetics and the sciences. I am telling you that this is a vast unexplored country and wildly exciting for the future. Poetry is the key to so many things. If that does not make sense to you now, take it on faith for the future of your little scientists, mathematicians and musicians.
"This is what I am searching for in the present book. Inadequate though my answers may be, I know the questions are valid. Rationality and poetry, science and art, need not be opposed. After all, we owe scientific breakthroughs as much to great acts of imagination as to feats of observation or calculation (one thinks of Einstein trying to picture running alongside a beam of light,..."
Read a biography of Einstein if you need further proof. Great men have great imaginations. Remember that as you plan your next school year.
"It must be possible to use this intrinsic connection between reason and imagination to overcome the alienation between the humanities and sciences."
I highlighted much more in the intro but I am getting away from the ideal length of a blog post.
I just love this book so much...in my best Holly Hunter accent.
Also read Pollinating Imaginations