Bite-sized mental exercises

Your blogger has been exercising a lot these days, in both body and mind. Mental exercises (aka studying) are infinitely more enjoyable, of course, but building up brawn makes mental chores more in force. Besides being endlessly grateful to be working in a university with a rich, welcoming library, it has been a recent pleasant discovery that the Internet is also a source of oft-forgotten treasures of spirituality, history, and philosophy sans the usual costs.

So in the process of a personal renaissance, so to speak, I leisurely collect quotes that may guide us by. I've clipped maybe a thousand from Frank Furedi's Where Have All the Intellectuals Gone the past month, and now I have the late Norris Houghton's whose eloquent, humanistic introduction to an old compilation of Russian short stories has kept me from picking up the book in fear of finishing it at once. Don't you feel sometimes when you're reading something so wonderful, a hope that it doesn't end?

Okay, so this photo is a little too literal.
So here's the part where I share with you, in bites, things worth reveling in:

"The great test of social ideas is the crucible of history, which, after a time, discloses a one-sidedness in the best of human generalizations." -- E.D. Hirsch, Jr., Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know

"Modern societies are being submerged under an ocean of commercially driven, soulless mass culture that meet none of the deep needs of human beings." -- O'Conner & Downing, from Questioning the Media, commenting on Frankfurt school communication theories

"[The] ideal of peace cannot be obtained on earth unless the welfare of man is safeguarded and people freely and trustingly share with one another the richness of their minds and their talents." --quoted in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, from the Vatican II document Gaudium et Spes

"That what we do for a living now, all of us, I think, is find something worth changing, and then assemble tribes that assemble tribes that spread the idea and spread the idea." -- Seth Godin on the tribes we lead

"Does respect for the audience involve appealing to the lowest common denominator, the least demanding performance, the most untaxing pleasure, or does it mean crediting the common reader, the concert goer, the civilized citizen, with some intelligence and appetite for invigorating artistic experience?" --Nicholas Murray, Culture and Accessibility