Archive for the ‘education’ Category

The supreme end of education is expert discernment in all things

February 15, 2014

The supreme end of education is expert discernment in all things – – the power to tell the good from the bad, the genuine from the counterfeit, and to prefer the good and the genuine to the bad and the counterfeit.

Charles Grosvenor Osgood (1871-1964) often wrongly attributed to Samuel Johnson, apparently

Note the moral sense that is to be inculcated in the child – to prefer the good and the true, not simply to know about options.

Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man

December 30, 2011

Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man.

Jesuit motto

We might hope that if the child fell into other than Jesuit hands that good might be done instead.

Tolerance becomes apathy because tolerance initself does not logically represent a positive virtue or goal

November 11, 2009

Tolerance becomes apathy because tolerance in itself does not logically represent a positive virtue or goal. So the tolerant society can easily decline into a society that cares nothing for its own sustenance and continuity. The fact that the democracies constantly seem to have a crisis in their schools is important — it is a symptom of a crucial uncertainty about what there is to teach, about whether there is anything to teach.

Bryan Appleyard, Understanding the Present, Pan, 1993, p.14

You know, Wilberforce, I have not the slightest idea what that man has been talking about

October 29, 2009

There is a well-known story which seems to me to supply a perfect illustration of this point. It concerns two great men, William Wilberforce the leader in the movement for the abolition of slavery, and William Pitt the Younger, one time Prime Minister of Britain. They were both brilliant men, they were both politicians, and they were very great friends. But William Wilberforce was converted and became a Christian, while William Pitt, like so many others, was but a formal Christian. William Wilberforce was very much concerned about his friend. He loved him as a man and was greatly concerned about his soul. He was most anxious therefore that Pitt should go with him to listen to a certain preacher, a London clergyman of the Church of England named Richard Cecil. Cecil was a great evangelical preacher, and Wilberforce delighted in his ministry, so he was ever trying to persuade Pitt to go with him to listen to Cecil. At long last Pitt agreed to do so. Wilberforce was delighted and they went together to a service. Richard Cecil was at his best, preaching in his most spiritual and elevated and exalted manner. Wilberforce was enjoying himself, and feeling lifted up into the very heavens. He could not imagine anything better, anything more enjoyable, anything more wonderful; and he was wondering what was happening to his friend William Pitt, the Prime Minister. Well, he was not left long in a state of uncertainty as to what had been happening, because, before they were even out of the building Pitt turned to Wilberforce and said, `You know, Wilberforce, I have not the slightest idea what that man has been talking about’. And he hadn’t, of course. As a man can be tone deaf to music, all who are not Christians are tone deaf to the spiritual. That which was ravishing the mind and the heart of Wilberforce conveyed nothing to Pitt. He was bored, he could not follow it, he could not understand it, he did not know what it was about. A man of great brilliance, a man of great culture, a man of great intellectual ability, but all that does not help l `The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned’ (I Corinthians 2: 14). Richard Cecil might as well have been preaching to a dead man. The dead cannot appreciate these things, neither could William Pitt. He himself confessed it. It is not what Wilberforce says about him; it is what he said about himself.

Martin Lloyd-Jones, Romans 8:5-17, p.10

The visible marks of extraordinary wisdom and power appear so plainly in all the works of the creation that a rational creature, who will but seriously reflect on them, cannot miss the discovery of Deity

October 10, 2009

The visible marks of extraordinary wisdom and power appear so plainly in all the works of the creation that a rational creature, who will but seriously reflect on them, cannot miss the discovery of Deity.

John Locke, from “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding”, 1690

the philosophy in the classroom of this generation is the philosophy of government in the next

October 4, 2009

…the philosophy in the classroom of this generation is the philosophy of government in the next.

Abraham Lincoln

Other education quotes

I am much afraid that the schools and universities will prove to be the great gates to hell unless they diligently labour to explain the Holy Scriptures and engrave them upon the hearts of youth

October 4, 2009

I am much afraid that the schools and universities will prove to be the great gates to hell unless they diligently labour to explain the Holy Scriptures and engrave them upon the hearts of youth. I advise no one to send their child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution that does not unceasingly occupy its students with the Word of God must become corrupt.

Martin Luther

Philosophers must become kings

September 16, 2009

The society we have described can never grow into a reality or see the light of day, and there will be no end to the troubles of states, or indeed, my dear Glaucon, of humanity itself, till philosophers are kings in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers, and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands.

Plato, Republic, 473 d,e, (380BC)

And these philosopher-rulers (presumably men like Plato himself), says Plato, will be ‘saviours of our society’ (Republic, 502, d)

in The Republic, Plato’s hope for change for the better in man’s lot is the application of external factors, i.e. educational, environmental and of course through eugenics (good breeding). Bad nurture causes ills he avers.

Plato, like Marx and Rousseau failed to appreciate the need to transform man by the new birth. They believed in changing society to change man instead of changing man that society would be transformed.

The consequence of this thinking is the totalitarianism that flowed through their political children: From Marx the totalitarianism of the Soviet Union etc., and from Rousseau the Terror of the French Revolution.

Don’t let ‘intellectuals’ run anything

September 13, 2009

Bertrand Russell wanted to create young people, ‘freed from fear and inhibitions and rebellious or thwarted instincts…A generation educated in fearless freedom will have wider and bolder hopes than are possible to us, who still have to struggle with the superstitious fears that lie in wait for us below the level of consciousness. Not we, but the free men and women whom we shall create, must see the new world, first in their hope, and then at last in the full splendour of reality.’ War, famine, and even death itself, he implied, could be abolished if we brought up our children correctly. Scientific psychology (i.e. behaviourism of the John Watson school) would allow us to ‘train the instincts’ to produce ‘a harmonious character, constructive rather than destructive, affectionate rather than sullen, courageous, frank and intelligent…If existing knowledge were used and tested methods applied, we could, in a generation, produce a population almost wholly free from disease, malevolence and stupidity.

His son, subject to his behaviourist methods, went mad and was unable to hold together his marriage, look after his children or even himself. He became completely alienated from his father during his adult life.

Ray Monk, Bertrand Russell: The Ghost of Madness, pp.9-10

This sentiment may have been part of the problem too: Unless care is taken, the child feels (immensely important)…Do not let the child see how much you do for it, or how much trouble you take…Above all, we should not give the child a sense of self-importance which later experience will mortify, and which, in any case, is not in accordance with the facts.

ibid.,p.11

Mission Schools in South Africa

September 10, 2009

Talking about his older cousin Nelson Mandela states:  “We were both Methodists, and I was assigned to his hostel, known
as Wesley House, a pleasant two-storey building on the edge of the campus. Under his tutelage, I attended church services with him at nearby Loveday, took up soccer (in which he excelled), and generally followed his advice. Fort Hare, like Clarkebury and Healdtown, was a missionary college. We were exhorted to obey God, respect the political authorities and be grateful for the educational opportunities afforded to us by the Church and the government. These schools have often been criticized for being colonialist in their attitudes and practices. Yet, even with such attitudes, I believe their benefits outweighed their disadvantages. The missionaries built and ran schools when the government was unwilling or unable to do so. The learning environment of the missionary schools, while often morally rigid, was far more open than the racist principles underlying government schools. Fort Hare was both home and incubator of some of the greatest African scholars the continent has ever known.

Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, 1994, p.52