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University of Chicago Press


The accomplishment of genius is both resource and inspiration: resource, because achievement lies like an endless quarry from which the future will draw and with which it will build; inspiration, because greatness stands as the embodiment of value, as an abiding influence which calls upon subsequent human effort. Accomplishment indicates what can be done, but one never repeats the past. To attempt to repeat is to play false even to that historical moment which was not itself the repetition of its predecessor. The past is not the present, nor can it be made to function for the urgencies and problems that are now. They are simply different kinds of time. But the foundational persuasion of humanistic education is that the past does continue to exist and to instruct within the present. It is within this context that I should like to comment upon Richard McKeon's paper.


Copyright © 1978 The University of Chicago Press. Reprinted with permission.

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