12 November 2015

What is Education?


G.K. Chesterton
In What’s Wrong with the World, G.K. Chesterton sets the record straight by reminding us that when it comes to defining education, there is no such thing. “Education is a word like ‘transmission’ or ‘inheritance'; it is not an object, but a method. It must mean the conveying of certain facts, views or qualities…if they are handed on from one generation to another they are education.” He further illustrates that “education is not a thing like theology, it is not an inferior or superior thing; it is not a thing in the same category of terms. Theology and education are to each other like a love-letter to the General Post Office.” Public education ought to imitate the general post office and teachers ought to be like mail carriers. We are to deliver the love letters, not write them.

As a transmission of culture, how we educate our children ought to include passing on to them the “best that has been said and done” in the Great Western Tradition and in consideration of the “democracy of the dead.” We have abandoned that strategy in favor of having secular humanist social utopians re-writing the love letters themselves in coded ideology, and at that, with a numbed mind, a hardened heart and an illiterate pen. We are in dire need of a recovery of the classical understanding of an education.
From The Imaginative Conservative. I prefer "learning" to "education."

1 comment:

E.J. DAgrosa said...

Chesterton is another one of my favorites. His book Orthodoxy is great...actually I haven't read a Chesterton book I haven't thought was great. Amazingly, most of wrote he wrote is more relevant to us today, than it was in his time.