Adorning our lives

David Rothman is one of those colleagues whose friendship in pursuit of the Good is a genuine grace. With his characteristic wit, verve, and style (all of a piece for a man dedicated to the arts), Rothman is an incredibly cultured man, who wears his learning lightly, even delightfully.

Today I’m reposting an interview with David from last year’s Symposium, as I think it wears well. David’s remarks return us to “the pursuit of happiness” that integrates a political regime with an aesthetic vision, both essentials of the Good Life.

Beauty is essential to human life. Quite plainly, as David reminds us, “Human beings are incapable of living without adorning their lives.” Such adornments provide the warp and woof of culture, of one form or another: better or worse, higher or lower, like it or not.

For further consideration of the central place of aesthetics, David highly recommends Michael Oakeshott’s (1959) essay, “The Voice of Poetry in the Conversation of Mankind” (found in this collection). Though rarely read, David argues that Oakeshott’s exposition of language is “one of the greatest 20th century statements on aesthetics.”

I’ll take that recommendation from a colleague, whose friendship has greatly enriched my own pursuit of happiness.


VIRTUE is the flagship publication of the Institute for Classical Education. It disseminates stories, ideas, research and experiences in classical education to readers across the nation, helping them to pursue the classical ideals of truth, goodness, and beauty.

Subscribing to VIRTUE's mailing list is absolutely free.

VIRTUE Magaizine Issue 08

Sign up today for your copy and join 25,000+ teachers, leaders, and friends of K-12 Classical education.