Reading and Literacy (and Perhaps Even Humanity) – Gun Culture two.


Self-defense trainer and man of letters Greg Ellifritz (Active Response Education) not too long ago wrote an instructive weblog post on “Institutional Memory.” It was occasioned by an essay by Chris Cerino (of “Top Shot” fame) titled A Brief History Of Pistol Shooting Approaches.

Gratuitous photo of me drinking beer with Chris Cerino at the Wild Beaver Saloon, Indianapolis, IN. Photo by Sandy Yamane

Cerino’s write-up recalled for Ellifritz a conversation he was getting with fellow trainer Tom Givens about how handful of modern gun trainers are “fully conscious of the history and evolution of the art.” The “institutional memory” — the collective information and experiences — of the gun coaching neighborhood has been or is getting lost.

To wit: Karl Rehn of KR Education has been operating really hard on a book on the history of handgun coaching and approach, as effectively as an historical handguns class, but what he imagined would be a two-day course he discovered he could not sell as such.

Karl Rehn lecturing on Historical Handguns at Rangemaster Tactical Conference, Tiny Rock, AR, 2018. Photo by DavidYamane

There are numerous consequences of this loss (which Ellifritz discusses), like Santayana’s old warning, “Those who can not try to remember the previous are condemned to repeat it.”

In response, Ellifritz lists in his Active Response Education weblog post more than 50 books that if study would be a fantastic start out in the approach of reinvigorating the institutional memory of the gun coaching neighborhood.

Gratuitous photo of Greg Ellifritz teaching. Photo by David Yamane

Wow, numerous persons could possibly assume, that is also numerous books. Ain’t no one got time for that. (Persons have undoubtedly mentioned that my 37 minute lengthy YouTube video is also lengthy for people’s taxed and shrunken consideration spans.)

Other folks, like Common James “Mad Dog” Mattis would scoff at reading a mere 50 books. How do I know? For the reason that I have been reading his not too long ago released autobiography, Get in touch with Sign Chaos.

In a passage that promptly caught my eye, Mattis writes,

If you haven’t study hundreds of books, you are functionally illiterate, and you will be incompetent, since your private knowledge alone are not broad sufficient to sustain you.

Not only did this have me considering about the state of reading nowadays, Mattis’s concept that our “personal experiences alone are not broad enough” recalled some earlier reading I had completed for my initial book (on larger education).

In Cultivating Humanity, philosopher Martha Nussbaum advocates for liberal education in the Greek and Roman Stoic sense of “liberal”:

it liberates the thoughts from the bondage of habit and custom, making persons who can function with sensitivity and alertness as citizens of the complete globe. This is what Seneca implies by the cultivation of humanity.

This includes, amongst other points, “the capacity for important examination of oneself and one’s traditions — for living what, following Socrates, we may perhaps contact ‘the examined life.’”

Reading permits us to transcend the limitations of the prison-property of our personal private experiences. Kudos to Mad Dog for highlighting the significance of this.


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