Prologue
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Prologue 3 The occupation with works of art, poetry, philosophy, mythical imagination, and so forth, makes sense only, if it is conducted as an inquiry into the nature of man. That sentence, while it excludes historicism, does not exclude history, for it is peculiar to the nature of man that it unfolds its potentialities historically. . . . The study of the classics is the principal instrument of self-­ education; and if one studies them with loving care, as you most truly observe, one all of a sudden discovers that one’s understanding of a great work increases (and also one’s ability to communicate such understanding) for the good reason that the student has increased through the process of study—­ and that after all is the purpose of the enterprise. (At least it is my purpose in spending the time of my life in the study of prophets, philosophers, and saints). . . . The basis of historical interpretation is the identity of substance (the psyche) in the object and the subject of interpretation; and its purpose is participation in the great dialogue that goes through the centuries among men about their nature and destiny. And participation is impossible without growth in stature (within the personal limitations) toward the rank of the best; and that growth is impossible unless one recognizes authority and surrenders to it. —­ Eric Voegelin to Robert B. Heilman ...