Friday 26 June 2009

Nutshell truths for the breakfast table

I came across this quote a few years ago, when I did a talk on the nature of a university. I love phrase 'nutshell truths for the breakfast table', and it is surely a phrase for the age of twitter.
As the great man's guest must produce his good stories or songs at the evening banquet, as the platform orator exhibits his telling facts at mid-day, so the journalist lies under the stern obligation of extemporizing his lucid views, leading ideas, and nutshell truths for the breakfast table.

Cardinal J. H. Newman, Preface to The Idea of a University, 1852
Of course, he was contrasting 'nutshell truths' with liberal education:
A habit of mind is formed which lasts through life, of which the attributes are, freedom, equitableness, calmness, moderation, and wisdom… a philosophical habit.

…Liberal Education… is simply the cultivation of the intellect, as such, and its object is nothing more or less than intellectual excellence.

To open the mind, to correct it, to refine it, to enable it to know and to digest, master, rule and use knowledge, to give it power over its own faculties, application, flexibility, method, critical exactness, sagacity, resource, address, eloquent expression…

J. H. Newman The Idea of a University. Discourse 5. 1852

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