Diversity is a great idea. To promote diversity with respect to race, age, art and music, nationality, and the like is to encourage a broader perspective and a more fully human experience of life. It’s a marvelous way to uncover and correct blind spots in one’s outlook.

Like most great ideas, though, diversity can be over- or under-applied. To promote diversity with respect to moral standards is to over-apply it, and ultimately to deny what is true. Yet we under-apply diversity in other areas. C.S. Lewis famously wrote on one such:

It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between. If that is too much for you, you should at least read one old one to every three new ones.

Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books.

Articles by Tom Gilson

Loading...

Show 0 comments