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Additional resources for A Life Worth Living - Selected Letters of John Holt
The things that I say I learned from watching children, I really did learn that way and in no other. ’ One other short point. ” There was nothing either free or easy about my observation, I learned whatever I have learned about children by prolonged and careful observation, and even more importantly, as a result of continued failures to teach them, in more or less orthodox school fashions, things people said they should learn. There seems to me a suggestion—forgive me if I’m wrong about this—that in learning about the world, other people’s books are more important than observation.
The story is really horrifying, much worse even than I had suspected, and I keep thinking 1 know the worst about this country. The degree to which our legal principles, the most profound ones, the ones most deeply rooted in whatever is good in our culture, are daily scorned and violated not just by lawyers but by judges themselves is simply shocking. Mrs. Forer brought great energy to the task, and professional training, and worked hard within the system, within a very small part of the system, to make the law live up to its own principles.
I seem to remember we were once having a conversation, perhaps at Jerry Friedman’s in Berkeley, on the matter of culture, and I either said or perhaps thought that when you speak of human culture what you are really thinking about is Western culture, that other modes of thinking, other cultures in the world, seem either primitive or initial steps down a road that we have already traveled. At the time this seemed a little parochial, perhaps. Since then, thinking about it more, I have come to feel that it is, if true, quite seriously mistaken.