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I believe (as Leopold gives us no other choice) that Leopold values nature and its

awareness in a similar way that Emerson did and that by awareness of nature we can have

knowledge of ourselves and our world. Thus, we can understand Leopold's affection for

awareness of nature. Leopold does not make it clear why he distrusts education and its influence

on the mind of man. However, just because he does not make explicit his troubles with education,

I still think we can make sense of what he means by taking education, not in the sense that we

usually take it to mean, the process of gaining knowledge of "what's necessary and true", but,

rather, in terms of socialization (and by which institution--family, schooling, etc.). Our culture, is

one that values individualism, work, practicality, material comfort, science and rationality, and a

therapeutic culture. Our culture is one of progress, and egoism (a culture that favors the heroes of

Ayn Rand's novels and philosophy) and this is what our culture teaches us through socialization.

Our culture does not value or teach introspection and the reverence of nature so that we can have

knowledge of ourselves. Instead, from the day we are born we are bombarded with a culture that

emphasizes progress, acquisition, mobility, and achievement, and we find this in our schools from

the first day of preschool until the awarding of a Ph.D. This is how our culture is.

What Leopold was noticing was not that education (schooling) fails to teach knowledge,

but that socialization through the institution of schooling (teaching our cultural values, beliefs, and

what's "important") fails to instill an understanding and appreciation for ourselves and nature; it

fails to cultivate the mind. Leopold saw our culture as educating its population to thrust its

awareness to the side, to make invisible a whole world in which we live. We must question,

Leopold is imploring, whether or not we want to go through life without making our own

awareness a priority (he does not make the distinction, but he uses awareness in place of

"attention") of the world and self. Should our own economic and technological progress, our

meritism and prudence be of more value than knowledge of ourselves? Leopold, we may reason,

meant by "things of lesser worth" not to be education in the sense of the attainment of knowledge,

but the education as done by our American culture (through its institution of family and schooling)

that trades off awareness of the self and nature for an artificial world created by man, a world of

glass and steel that George Babbitt, of Sinclair Lewis' novelBabbitt, lives in--the world of the

conformist, mindlessness, progress, and corruption of the mind--the world of schooling, not

education. (If one considers the above definitions of culture too modern for Leopold, Lewis wrote