I got to meet a neighbor today and we struck up a conversation about his business and what we do at CiRCE. When I started to talk about education and how we don’t focus on wisdom and virtue, I expected him to tune out. Instead he described how one of his employees didn’t know what a customer meant when she was asked to divide something by 1/3.
He said we need well-rounded people who can make “educated decisions.”
That’s a really good description of what a classical education accomplishes. You become well rounded because we treat you like more than a material object good only for your utility. We treat you like a transcendent being with eternal worth. You have religious dimension that is essential to your well-being, so we don’t pretend it isn’t there because we can’t find direct statistical proof for what we already know. We know that when you treat a spiritual being as something less, you damage her. We know that a person who isn’t well-rounded and can’t make educated decisions is not good for the economy.
And there’s the rub. Our education controllers develop extremely complex theories about children as material objects whose role is to contribute to the economy, preparing them for careers and college, that latter of which is for careers. But in so doing, they leave vast realms of the child’s human nature and personhood uncultivated.
The consequence is that they never learn how to make educated decisions, they do not become well-rounded people. Then they get jobs. And any job worth having requires you to make hard decisions (apart from the entertainment and education realms, earnings are tied to the responsibility a person can carry – ie his ability to make wise decisions in touch situations). So they drag down the economy.
They have been taught to think too little of themselves, not to mention to think too little for themselves.
So they treat themselves like what they have been treated like for all those years. Insects. Rabbits. Entirely physical beings, driven to satisfy the bodily appetites without the foggiest idea how to satisfy a higher hunger.
The higher hunger, however, does not go away just because it is unmet. The wealthy can “survive” because they have all sorts of ways to appease the hunger. But the middle and lower classes don’t. They destroy themselves trying to feed themselves on the only food they are given.
They need the bread of angels and we give them only the husks of pigs.
Do I overstate myself if I argue that the most valuable thing you can do for the American economy is to give children a proper classical education. I don’t think so. That’s precisely what we’re expecting to accomplish with the Lost Tools of Writing.
An economy is the fruit of a billion decisions. It’s well-being depends more on the wisdom and virtue of those making those billions of decisions than on anything else.
For gold’s sake, give your children a classical education.
But if that doesn’t satisfy you, do it for God’s sake.