Bildung

I have been reading Eric Kandel’s relatively new and partly autobiographical book titled In Search of Memory which I stumbled upon in the Library. I will be posting here some of my notes on the things I find interesting in the book.

In the more biographical first chapters, he describes his childhood in Vienna as a Jew in a time when Hitler was soon to take power of Austria. He is particularly trying to get to the history behind him becoming interested in the subject of learning, memory and how the mind works.

I was particularly interested to read about what he regards as of the main principles of his Jewish upbringing: as not making money for the purpose of simply having money, but “to use economic security to rise to a higher cultural plane”. He then goes on further to talk about the concept of Bildung, which sounds very reasonable to me:

What was most important was Bildung – the pursuit of education and culture (…) even to a poor Jewish family (…) that at least one son succeed in becoming a musician, a lawyer, a doctor, or, better still, a university professor.

He then goes on to show his gratitude for the found freedom in the United States and the excellence in the schools that he attended.

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