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F. R. Leavis – The university is not Jerusalem, but…

September 12, 2014

“The university as I contend for it is not an ultimate human goal [as would be the building of Jerusalem]; it is the answer to a present extremely urgent need of civilization. The need is to find a way to save cultural continuity, that continuous collaborative renewal which keeps the ‘heritage’ of perception, judgment, responsibility and spiritual awareness alive, responsive to change, and authoritative for guidance. In that continuity inhere the ahnung and the nisus that, effectively energizing the few, represent humanity’s chance of escaping the disasters from which scientists, technologists and economists, as such and alone, cannot save us. For not only faith, but creativity in the realm of the spirit, the realm of human significances, is necessary.”

[Ahnung – anticipation, inkling; nisus – a mental or physical effort to attain a specific goal, a striving – from nīsūs – pressure (downward push), exertion]

(from Nor Shall My Sword [1972])


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