Sunday, August 26, 2012

How About Real Education?

We've expressed some reservations about the "education" being promoted by the Utilitarian/Industrialists.  It has its place, of course, as does carpentry, plumbing, or any other craft.  These can be taught (or caught) as secondary curricula.

But what "education" is primary?  That is, what must one know to succeed as a human being, not just as a neatly-stamped-out laborer or bureaucratic drone?

....the great tradition of Western civilization—defined humane learning in terms of what became known as the “Liberal Arts.” As described by St Augustine and others, these consisted of seven fields of study, grouped as three arts of language, and three cosmological arts. The first group or Trivium consisted of Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric; the second, the Quadrivium, of Arithmetic, Geometry, Music and Astronomy. Both sets of arts were intended to be preparatory to the higher studies of Philosophy and Theology—that is, the love of Wisdom (philo-sophia) and the knowledge of God (theo-logos). The Liberal Arts constituted the core curriculum at the heart of the classical and medieval educational system....

The terms do not mean what you think they mean.

...Grammar is not just the rules of language, but the first gift of humanity, the connection to our Origin through memory, language, and tradition...

...With Dialectic we move from Mythos to Logos, consciously searching for the reason of things. This is the art of discerning and uncovering the truth, of distinguishing between imagination and reality. 

...Rhetoric, has to do the movement from Mythos and Logos to Ethos. Far from being concerned just with the rules of eloquence, it is about the communication of souls at the level of the heart (“heart speaks to heart”), and so with the creation of community

As to the Quad:

These four subjects are not merely “mathematical” studies in contrast to the “literary” ones. If they were, we would merely be replicating the modern divorce of science from the humanities. They are about the continued search, on the basis just established, for the Logos or Intelligibility of things.

Each member of the Quadrivium involves the study of patterns in space or time, leading to knowledge of the underlying Wisdom of the Creator expressed in the creation. This, of course, is the origin of the scientific enterprise, but it is equally the origin of art. Both are ways of discerning the Logos. Art exercises the imagination, and so in another way does science, where every major discovery has involved a creative leap. The artist searches for beauty, and so do the scientist and mathematician.

We would need far fewer "UW System" locations if grade- and high-schools matriculated students who actually knew the tri- and quad-.


Grim said...

That's a great article. Is anyone trying to actually put such a program back together?

Dad29 said...

Not to my knowledge, but there are probably a few here and there.