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what is education?

"Real education must ultimately be limited to one who insists on knowing, the rest is mere sheep-herding."

Ezra Pound



"Only the curious will learn and only the resolute overcome the obstacles to learning. The quest quotient has always excited me more than the intelligence quotient."

-Eugene S. Wilson



"The first and simplest emotion which we discover in the human mind is, Curiosity."

-Edmund Burke



"Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect."

-Samuel Johnson



"Curiosity is free-wheeling intelligence."

-Alistair Cooke




"Only barbarians* are not curious about where they come from, how they came to be where they are, where they appear to be going, whether they wish to go there, and if so, why, and if not, why not...."

-Isaiah Berlin

* I don't think barbarians lack curiosity about these matters  ed.




   Dr. Todd Kashdan, a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at George Mason University, says lack of curiosity is a breeding ground for stereotyping and discrimination, ignorance, rigid conformity, inflated confidence, and dogmatism.

   Uncurious people tend to see the world in black and white. People are good or bad. Choices are right or wrong. And, indeed, sometimes they are.) Yet alternatives are not always that stark. Life comes in infinite shades of gray. And nothing demonstrates a low tolerance for ambiguity LIKE lack a lack of curiosity."

-Alexander Green

Beyond Wealth




"Having access to thousands of times more information that we did a generation ago hasn't instantly made us any smarter."
--James Gleick

Ed Note*It certainly has speeded up the learning process dramatically. We are in the age of the 'Amateur Scientists' waiting for per-review now   aa




"To spend too much Time in Studies, is Sloth; To use them too much for Ornament, is
Affectation; To make Judgment wholly by their rules is the humor of a scholar."

-Francis Bacon




"Each man calls barbarism whatever is not his own practice; for indeed it seems we have o other test of truth and reason that the example and pattern of the opinions and customs of the country we live in."




"Learning....a good conscience and virtuous life are always preferred before it."

-Thomas A Kempis




"WORLDLY AMBITION INHIBITS TRUE LEARNING. ASK ME. I know. A young man in a hurry is nearly uneducable: he knows what he wants and where he's headed; when it comes to looking back or entertaining heretical thoughts, he has neither the time nor the inclination. All that counts is that he is going somewhere. Only as ambition wanes does education become a possibility."

-Andrew J. Bacevich Col. USA (ret)

Washington Rules: America's Path To Permanent War



   "I suppose during those six years of higher education some knowledge seeped in. but not much wisdom. Not much that really changed my outlook or my values or my goals in life. those basic things were affected more by  certain chance encounters I had than by anything I read in books."

-Arthur Gordon

A Touch Of Wonder



"To the Editor:'

   Reading the "By the Book" Interview with Drew Gilpin Faust, the president of Harvard (May 27), I was surprised by her response to the question "What is the best book you've read about academia?*" Her praise for "The Uses of the University" (1963) by Clark Kerr, is stunningly misdirected.

   Hailing the rise of the "multiversity," Kerr welcomed the very developments that have made American higher education so generally lame: the denigration of teaching; the loss of a center, academically and spiritually; the selling out to Big Business, Big Government, Big Foundations (and now ESPN): the redefinition of 'professor" to "grant-grubbing entrepreneur"; the redefinition of 'liberal education' to "a smattering of units in random disciplines, then a vocational major: travel agency, insurance, recreational studies, whatever pays the freight."

    University administrators now regularly speak of "tertiary" rather than "higher" education, an admission from within of how little legitimacy the whole operation has become. I trace the Fall straight to Clark Kerr's selling his birthright for a mess of potage. The heights of Harvard seem to have blinded Faust to the sad state of things everywhere below

-Jeff Zorn

San Francisco The writer is a senior lecturer of English at Santa Clara University

The New York Times Book Review June 17,2012

*Ed Note: My favorite is "Profscam"




"What is important is to keep learning, to enjoy challenge, and to tolerate ambiguity. In the end there are no certain answers."

-Matina Horner  (President Radcliffe College)




"Learning is not a product of schooling but the lifelong attempt to acquire it."





"The most instructive experiences are those of everyday life."

-Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche




"Let early education be a sort of amusement; you will then be better able to find out the natural bent."




"Nothing is so astonishing in education as the amount of ignorance it accumulates in the form of inert facts"

-Henry Adams



"What usually happens in the educational process is that the faculties are dulled, overloaded, stuffed, and paralyzed so that by the time most people are mature they have lost their innate capabilities."

-Buckminster Fuller



"No system of education known to man is capable of ruining everyone."

-Otto Neugebauer (pioneering historian of mathematics and astronomy in the ancient world)



"Yes, old man, in the whole district there were only two decent, well-educated men: you and I. And in some ten years the common round of the trivial life here has swamped us, and has poisoned our life with its putrid vapours, and made us just as despicable as all the rest."





"I became more and more astonished by the ignorance, and especially by the cultural, moral ignorance of our society....All our education should be directed to the accumulation of the cultural heritage of our ancestors, the best thinkers of the world."

-Leo Tolstoy




"All institutions of freedom are adaptations to this fundamental fact of ignorance, adapted to deal with chances and probabilities, not certainty. Certainty we cannot achieve in human affairs."

-Friedrich Hayek



"I have no special gift; I am only passionately curious."

-Albert Einstein



"We do not ask for what useful purpose the birds do sing, for song is their pleasure since they were created for singing. Similarly, we ought not to ask why the human mind troubles to fathom the secrets of the heavens."

-Johannes Kepler




"The greatest hindrance in bettering our  understanding of the world is our natural tendency to cling to outdated ideas."

-The Astrophysics Spectator, may 2006




"There will never be any substitute for twenty years of life and experience."

-Albert Camus



"A sense of curiosity is nature's original school of education."

-Dr. Smiley Blanton




"Cultivate your curiosity. Keep it sharp and always working. Consider curiosity your life preserver, your willingness to try something new. Second, enlarge your enthusiasm to include the pursuit of excellence, following every task through to completion. Third, make the law of averages work for you By budgeting your time more carefully than most people you can make more time available...Does the combination of curiosity, enthusiasm and the law of averages guarantee success? Indeed it does not!....Success in the final analysis always involves luck or the element of chance. Louis Pasteur grasped this well when he said that chance favors the prepared mind."

-John W.Hanley




"There are different kinds of curiosity; one of interest, which causes us to learn that which would be useful to us; and the other of pride, which springs from a desire to know that of which others are ignorant."

-La Rochefoucauld




"Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance."

-Will Durant (1885-1881)



"It is necessary, I believe, to accept this idea, not only for science, but also for other things; it is of great value to acknowledge ignorance."

-Richard Feynman PhD. (Nobel Prize Winner)

The Pleasure of finding things Out



"Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance*."

-Confucius (531-479 B.C.)

*Agnotology of ignorance



"The more we learn about the world, and the deeper our learning, the more conscious, specific, and articulate will be our knowledge of what we do not know, our knowledge of our ignorance. for this, indeed, is the mains source of our ignorance-the fact that our knowledge can be only finite, while our ignorance must necessarily be infinite."

-Karl Popper



   "You see, one thing is, I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I'm not absolutely sure of anything and there are many things I don't know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we're here, and what the question might mean. I might think about it a little bit and if I can't figure it out, then I go onto something else, but I don't have to know an answer, I don't feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without having any purpose, which is the way it really is so far as I can tell. it doesn't frighten me."

-Richard Feynman Phd   (Nobel Prize Winner)*

ed note* my favorite genius




"As to your method of work....take no thought for the morrow: Live neither in the past nor in the future, but let each day's work absorb your entire energies, and satisfy your widest ambition. That was a singular but very wise answer which
Cromwell gave to Bellvire-"No one rises so high as he who knows not whither he is going,", and there is much truth in it. The student who is worrying about his future, anxious over the examinations, doubting his fitness for the procession, is certain not to do so well as the man who cares for nothing but the matter in hand, and who knows not whither he is going!"

Sir William Osler to his students



"the greatest of all the accomplishments of twentieth-century science has been the discovery of human ignorance."

-Lewis Thomas



"Our ignorance, of course, has always been with us, and always will be. What is new is our awareness of it, our awakening to its fathomless dimensions, and it is this, more than anything else, that marks the coming of age in our species. Space may have a horizon and time a stop, but the adventure of learning is endless

Timothy Ferris



"We should not, then perhaps be so forward, out of an affectation of an universal knowledge, to raise questions, and perplex ourselves and others with disputes about things to which our understandings are not suited....our knowledge being so will, perhaps, give us some light into the present state of our minds, if we look a little into the dark side, and take a view of our ignorance: which being infinitely larger than our knowledge, may serve much to the quieting of disputes, and improvement of useful knowledge; if discovering how far we have clear and distinct ideas, we confine our thoughts within the contemplation of those things, that are within the reach of our understandings, and launch not out into that abyss of darkness (where we have not eyes to see, nor faculties to perceive any thing,) out of a presumption, that nothing is beyond our comprehension."

-John Locke



"The ancient Masters

didn't try to educate the people,

but kindly taught them to not-know.

When they think that  they know the answers,

people are difficult to guide.

When they know that they don't know,

people can find their own way."

Tao Te Ching



"Not knowing is true knowledge.

Presuming to know is a disease.

First realize that you are sick;

then you can move toward health.

-Tao Te Ching     (2,600 year-old collection of 81 brief Poems)




"This is the monthly scheme of my school attendance:

My free days are three each month;

My religious holidays are three each month;

For twenty-four days each month

I must be in school. How long they are!"

from ancient Ur last century of the third millennium B.C.



"Perhaps it is not without reason that we attribute facility in belief and conviction to simplicity and ignorance; for it seems to me I once learned that belief was a sort of impression made on our mind, and that the softer and less resistant the mind, the easier it was to imprint something on it."




"The most useful piece of learning for the uses of life is to unlearn what is untrue."

-Antisthenes (445-365 B.C.




"To accuse others for one's own misfortunes is a sign of want of education; to accuse oneself shows that one's education has begun; to accuse neither oneself nor others shows that one's education is complete."




"Thoroughly to teach another is the best way to learn for yourself."

-Tryon Edwards



"you cannot teach a man anything: you can only help him to find it within himself."



"True teaching, then, is not that which gives knowledge, but that which stimulates pupils to gain it."

-Milton Gregory




"To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge."

-Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543)




"Men learn while they teach."

-Lucius Annaeus Seneca (the Younger)



"Ignorance of certain subjects is a great part of wisdom."

-Hugo De Groot (1583-1645)




"I know of no disease of the soul but ignorance."

-Ben Johnson



"The greatest vested interest is not property but ignorance."

-William Jovanovich



"Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong."

-Thomas Jefferson  Notes on the State of Virginia (1785)



"The more we learn about the world, and the deeper our learning, the more conscious, specific, and articulate will be our knowledge of what we do not know, our knowledge of our ignorance. For this, indeed, is the main source of our ignorance-the fact that our knowledge can be only finite, while our ignorance must necessarily be infinite."

-Karl Popper Conjectures and Refutations



"The greatest of all the accomplishments of twentieth-century science has been the discovery of human ignorance."

-Lewis Thomas



"Ignorance is strength."

-George Orwell, 1984



"I'm sure you realize that there are plenty of people who are looking for exactly that kind of brain death. It makes life, a lot easier. You don't have to think about difficult things, just shut up and do what your superiors tell you to do."

-IQ84   Haruki Murakmi




"Ignorance is king, many would not prosper by its abdication."

-Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook




"People used to be embarrassed to be stupid. Now they're walking around all semi-erect and proud and stuff, wearing their density like a badge of authenticity."

-Will Durst "Dim is King" The Progressive Magazine  2009




"Education is a best an education which produces useful coolies for us is admissible. Every educated person is a future enemy."

-Martin Borman  German Nazi Leader....Letter to his wife



"Education can be dangerous. It is very difficult to make it not dangerous. In fact, it is almost impossible."

-Robert M. Hutchins




  "Consequently, it should not come as a shock to  discover that the intellectual or "educated" man can be more harmful to society than the uneducated or unsophisticated man. The literate person has the ability to spread his ignorance abroad, to sell his dogma wholesale. The unlettered person can only pass on his beliefs to those in his immediate vicinity."

-Wilmot Robertson



"A child educated only at school is an uneducated child."

-George Santayana



"He that never compares his notions with those of others, readily acquiesces in his first thoughts, and very seldom discovers the objections which may be raised against his opinions, he, therefore, often thinks himself in possession of truth, when he is only fondling an error long since exploded."

-Samuel Johnson



"We are often unaware of the scope and structure of our ignorance. Ignorance is not just a blank space on a person's mental map. it has contours and coherence, and for all I know rules of operation as well. So as a corollary to writing about what we know, maybe we should add getting familiar with out ignorance."

-Thomas Pynchon, 1984



   "Philosophers love to talk about knowledge. A whole field is devoted to reflection on the topic, with product tie-ins to professorships and weighty conferences. Epistemology is serious business, taught in academies the world over: there is "moral" and "social" epistemology, epistemology of the sacred, the closet, and the family. There is a Computational Epistemology Laboratory at the University of Waterloo, and a Center for Epistemology at the Free University in Amsterdam. A Google search turns up separate websites for "constructivist," "feminist," and "evolutionary" epistemology, of course, but also "libidinal," "android," "Quaker," "Internet," and (my favorite) "erotometaphysical" epistemology. Harvard offers a course in the field (without the erotometaphysical part), which (if we are to believe its website) explores the epistemic status of weighty claims like "the standard meter is 1 meter long" and "I am not a brain in a vat" We seem to know a lot about knowledge.

   What is remarkable, though, is how little we know about ignorance. There is not even a well-known word for its study (though our hope is to change that), no fancy conferences or polished websites. This particularly remarkable, given (a) how much ignorance there is, (b) how many kinds there are, and (c) how consequential ignorance is in our lives."

-Robert N. Proctor


The Making & Unmaking of Ignorance



   "Here some questions for further reflection: What other kinds of work does ignorance do? How else is it created, via what other kinds of inattention, disinterest, calculation, resistance, tradition, or distraction? And when does knowledge create ignorance? Wes Jackson has called the modern university "an engine of distraction"; how does pursuit of certain kinds of knowledge produce such "distractions"? Is ivory tower reclusion required for certain kinds of knowledge production? how do disinterests and apathies come into being, and what patterns of competence or disability are thereby brought into being."

-Robert N. Proctor

Agnotology: The Making & Unmaking of Ignorance



"Compared to the pond of knowledge, our ignorance remains Atlantic, Indeed the horizon of the unknown recedes as we approach it."

Thus beings The Encyclopedia of Ignorance, a collection of fifty-one short essays on "what it is (scientists) would most like to know......



"The political question of our time.- Why do we need these universities, these poisonous wells and toxic dumpsites of the spirit? There is not one sound reason for them to continue in existence. I defy this prejudice of our age which unquestioningly accepts the value of of state-financed higher education. All our state-run universities should be converted into libraries. All these tenured professors should be given the boot. The administrators, too, ought to look for real jobs. Redirect university funding to retire the national debt. Send the president of the American Political Science Association to Mars. Give outer space something thick and unreadable."

J.R. Nyquist



"Self-evident though the importance of education in raising an economy's productivity may seem, there is actually a lot of evidence that questions this piece of conventional wisdom."

-Ha-Joon Chang

Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism



   "Education is valuable, but its main value is not in raising productivity. It lies in its ability to help us develop our potentials and live a more fulfilling and independent life. If we expanded education in the belief that it will make our economies richer, we will be sorely disappointed, for the link between education and national productivity is rather tenuous and complicated. our over enthusiasm with education should be tamed, and, especially in developing countries, far greater attention needs to be paid to the issue of establishing and upgrading productive enterprises and institutions that support them."

-Ha-Joon Chang

Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism



"At the elite institutions, those on the inside are told they are better than others. Most believe it."

-Chris Hedges

Empire of Illusion



"All uneducated persons are hypocrites."

-William Hazlitt



   "At 12, a grammar-school dropout with but three months of formal education behind him, he started working as a candy butcher on a train hawking newspapers and cheap luxuries on the run between Port Huron, Michigan, where he lived, and Detroit. When he could he too refuge in the Detroit Free Library, where he read everything that fell under his hand. In late years he remembered especially the Anatomy of Melancholy and-in translation- Les Miserable which he vastly enjoyed. Not so Newton's Principia. "it gave me a distaste for mathematics from which I have never recovered." he said."

about Thomas Alva Edison by Robert Evet Those Inventive Americans National Geographic society



THE LATEST CRIME WAVE' SENDING YOUR CHILD TO A BETTER SCHOOL  by Michael Flaherty The Wall Street Journal oct 1-2 2011

   "In case you needed further proof of the American education system's failings, especially in poor and minority communities, consider the latest crime to spread across the country's educational theft. That's the charge that has landed several parents, such as Ohio's Kelley Williams-Bolar, in jail this year.....

"School districts hire special investigators to follow kids home in order to verify their true residences."




"My grandmother wanted me to have a good education so she kept me out of school...."

-Margaret Mead



"Men do not become what by nature they are meant to be, but what society makes them. The generous feelings, and high propensities of the soul are, as it were, shrunk up, seared, violently wrenched, and amputated, to fit us for our intercourse with the world, something in the manner that beggars maim and mutilate their children, to make them fit for their future situation in life."

-William Hazlitt




   "The assault on education began more than a century ago by industrialists and capitalists such as Andrew Carnegie. In 1891, Carnegie congratulated the graduates of the Pierce College of Business for being "fully occupied in obtaining a knowledge of shorthand and typewriting," rather than wasting time "upon dead languages." The industrialist Richard Teller crane was even more pointed in his 1911 dismissal of what humanists call the "life of the mind." No one who has "a taste for literature has the right to be happy" because "the only men entitled to happiness....are those who are useful." The arrival of industrialists on university boards of trustees began as early as the 1870s and the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business offered the first academic credential in business administration in 1881. The capitalists, from the start, complained that universities were unprofitable. These early twentieth-century capitalists, like heads of investment houses and hedge-fund managers, were, as Donoghue writes, "motivated by an ethically based anti-intellectualism that transcended interest in the financial bottom line. Their distrust of the ideal of intellectual inquiry for its own sake, led them to insist that if universities were to be preserved at all, they must operate on a different set of principles from those governing the liberal arts."

-Chris Hedges

Empire of Illusion



"There are two brains in the head, one which gives understanding, an another which provides sense perception. That is to say, the one which is lying on the right side is the one that perceives, with the left one, however, we understand."

-Diocles of Carystus    4th Century B.C.




"man's nervous system is just as bipartite as the rest of his body, with the result that one half of it may become affected while the other half continues to carry out its proper functions."

-Meinard Simon Du Pui  1780




"We have two optic nerves and two nerves of hearing, just as we have two eyes and two ears; and the brain is in like manner double, and all its integrant parts are in pairs. Now, just as when one of the optic nerves, or one of the eyes is destroyed, we continue to see with the other eye; so when one of the hemispheres of the brain, or one of the brains, has become incapable of exercising its functions, the other hemisphere, or the other brain, may continue to perform without obstructing those belonging to itself. In other words, the functions may be disturbed or suspended on one side and remain perfect on the other."

-Franz Joseph Gall   1800s




"If I work with the right hand, I use the left side of the brain; if I employ the left hand, I use the right side of the brain....I am firmly convinced that the better and firmer the union of each hand with its proper hemisphere of the brain, and the more facility we have of working each together, and also independently, the better the brain and mind and the better the thought, the reason and the imagination will be."

-James Liberty Tadd  direcctor of the Philadelphia Public School of Industrial Art



"Because of the fault of our fathers and mothers, we make use of only one half of our  body for certain acts, and one half of our brain for certain other acts....if children were trained to develop both brain halves, we would have a sturdier and healthier race, both mentally and physically."

-Chgarles brown-Sequard



"By teaching both sides of the brain, society could look forward to a wonderful new world of two-handed, two-brained citizens, with untold benefits for health, intelligence, handicrafts, sport, schoolwork, industry and the military.....If required, one hand shall be writing an original letter and the other shall be playing the piano....with no diminution in the power of concentration."

-John Jackson, 1906



"The (scientific) findings....powerfully suggest that schools have been beaming most of their instruction through a left-brained input (reading and listening) and output (talking and writing) system, thereby handicapping all learners."

-Today's Education by the principal of the University Elementary School of the Graduate School of Education at the University of California in Los Angeles



"the most foolish, impertinent, ignorant, expensive, result less and maiming fad is that of the ambidexterity mongers. They do not know what they want, do not know that they cannot succeed, do not know, do not know that they curse the victim of any partial success."

-George Gould



   "Chrichton -Browne, who had been by this time the British "Lord Chancellor's Visitor in Lunacy" for thirty-two years, was concerned with the supervision of the hospital wards. Perhaps influenced by his profession, he noted that there are periodic outbreaks of ambidexterity and "some of those who promote it are addicted to vegetarianism, hatlessness, or anti-vaccination, and other aberrant forms of belief; but it must be allowed that beyond that it has the support of a large number of highly educated, intelligent and reasonable people, and of some men of light and leading."

-Robert Ornstein

The Right Mind



   "The ultimate goal of the educational system is to shift to the individual the burden of pursuing his own education. This will not be a widely shared pursuit until we get over our odd conviction that education is what goes on in school buildings and nowhere else. Not only does education continue when schooling ends, but it is not confined to what may be studied in adult education courses. The world is an incomparable classroom, and life is a memorable teacher for those who aren't afraid of her."

-John W. Gardner

Self-Renewal: The Individual and the Innovative Society



   "Education is, most of all, the place that the average man cannot avoid. He may be able to avoid having a checking account, and even owning a car-but hardly anyone escapes school ( the rare exceptions occur mainly among the very rich and the very poor), The average man cannot even escape more school: measured by time, school is growing faster than any other occupation, including watching pro football. At any given time about one third of the American population is in school in one form or another, and it seems probable that the average man's years in school are growing faster than his life expectancy.

   The imperative reason for going to school is to find a place on the upper end of the net screwing scale. If you want to enjoy a favorable balance of screwings-that is, to do onto others more than they do onto you-it seems you pretty well have to stay in school at least through college. School is the passport to the favorable occupied by the 15% for whom Catch-85 was written. The professions with their lucrative hustles are barred to those who have not hung in there long enough to get an advanced degree; you may be able to outlawyer a Clarence Darrow, but you'll never get a chance to show your stuff without the law school diploma. Even in business it is hard nowadays to get very far up the scale without at least college, preferably an advanced degree."

David Hapgood

The Screwing of the Average Man



"As long as education has existed, as long as anyone can remember, right from the times of Socrates, up-and-coming philosopher-teachers have been censured and beaten down for 'confusing young minds' and not teaching according to conventional norms...."

-Vladimir Megre The Energy of Life by Vladimir Megre #7 in the Ringing Cedars Series




"The educability of a young person as a rule comes to an end when sexual desire breaks out in its final strength....The little human being is frequently a finished product in his fourth or fifth year, and only gradually reveals in later years what lies buried in him."

-Sigmund Freud



"What is education if not mental capital, the sum of the mental labor of all past generations? How can an ignorant mind, vigorous though it may be by nature, hold out in a struggle against collective mental power produced by centuries of development? That is why we often see intelligent men of the people stand in awe before educated fools."

-Michael Bakunin, Science and the Urgent Revolutionary Task, 1870




"I don't believe in colleges and universities. I believed in libraries."

-Ray Bradbury




"On the other hand, Harvard is a glorified corporation, operating with a profit incentive. That's what makes it tick. It has an endowment in the billions of dollars. The people running it are not necessarily searching for truth and knowledge. They want to be big shots, and when you accept a paycheck from these people it is going to come down to what you want to do and what you feel is right versus what the man says you can do to receive another paycheck. When you're there, they got a thumb right on you. They are out to make sure you don't step out of line."

-Chris Langan

from Outliers: The Story of Success" by Malcolm Gladwell



"The mediocrity of Harvard undergraduate teaching is an open secret of the Ivy League."

-Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus

Higher education?



"I've learned that you can't hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk."

-(Anonymous 7-year-old)




"The only source of knowledge is experience."

-Albert Einstein




"Hardly anyone can understand the importance of an idea. It is so remarkable. Except that, possibly, some children catch on. And when a child catches on to an idea like that, we have a scientist....It's too late for them to get the spirit when they are in our universities, so we must attempt to explain these ideas to children."

-Richard Feynman




"Learn all you can, but learn to do something, or your learning will be useless and your vision will depart."

-Booker T. Washington (1856-1915)




"The whole object of education is, or should be, to develop mind. The mind should be a thing that works. It should be able to pass judgment on events as they arise, make decisions."

-Sherwood Anderson




"The aim of higher education is wisdom. Wisdom is knowledge of principles and causes. Metaphysics deals with the highest principles and causes. Therefore metaphysics is the highest wisdom."

-Robert Hutchins



"What each man does is based not on direct and certain knowledge, but on pictures made by himself or given to him."

-Walter Lippmann




"Neither believe nor reject any thing because any other person, or description of persons have rejected or believed it. Your own reason is the only oracle given you by heaven...."

-Thomas Jefferson




"The inferior man's reasons for hating knowledge are not hard to discern....He hates it because it is complex. Thus his search is always for short cuts. All superstitions are such short cuts. The cosmologies that educated men toy with are all inordinately complex. But the cosmology of Genesis is so simple that even a yokel can grasp it. So he accepts it with loud hosannas, and has one more excuse for hating his betters."

-H.L. Mencken




   "The elite universities disdain honest intellectual inquiry, which is by its nature distrustful of authority, fiercely independent, and often subversive. They organize learning around minutely specialized disciplines, narrow answers, and rigid structures designed to produce such answers. The established corporate hierarchies these institutions service-economic, political and social-come with clear parameters, such as the primacy of an unfettered free market, and also with a highly specialized vocabulary. This vocabulary, a sign of the "specialist" and of course, the elitist, thwarts universal understanding. It keeps the uninitiated from asking unpleasant questions. It destroys the search for the common good. It dices disciplines, faculty, students, and finally experts into tiny, specialized fragments. It allows students and faculty to retreat into these self-imposed fiefdoms and neglect the most pressing moral, political, and cultural questions. Those who critique the system itself-people such as Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Dennis Kucinich or Ralph Nader-are marginalized and shut out of the mainstream debate. These elite universities have banished self-criticism. They refuse to question a self-justifying system. Organization, technology, self-advancement, and information systems are the only things that matter."

Chris Hedges

Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle




"In The Republic, Plato imagines human beings chained for the duration of their lives in an underground cave, knowing nothing but darkness. Their gaze is confined to the cave wall, upon which shadows of the world above are thrown. They believe these flickering shadows are reality. If, Plato writes, one of these prisoners is freed and brought into the sunlight, he will suffer pain. Blinded by the glare, he is unable to see anything and longs for the familiar darkness. But eventually his eyes adjust to the light. The illusion of the tiny shadows is obliterated, He confronts the immensity, chaos, and confusion of reality. The world is no longer drawn in simple silhouettes. But he is despised when he returns to the cave. He is unable to see in the dark as he used to. Those who never let the cave ridicule him and swear never to go into the light lest they be blinded as well."

-Chris Hedges

Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle




"What is it that first strikes us, and strikes us at once, in a man of education and which, among educated men, so instantly distinguishes the man of superior mind?....The true cause of the impression made upon us is that his mind is methodical."

-Samuel Taylor Coleridge




"People who are unused to learning, learn little, and that slowly, while those more accustomed do much more and do it more easily. The same thing also happens with research. Those who are altogether unfamiliar with this become blinded and bewildered as soon as their minds begin to work: they readily withdraw from the inquiry, in a state of mental fatigue and exhaustion, much like people who attempt to race without having been trained. he, on the other hand, who is accustomed to research, seeks and penetrates everywhere mentally, passing constantly from one topic to another; nor does he ever give up his investigation; he pursues it not merely for a matter of days, but throughout his whole life. Also by transferring his mind to other ideas which are not yet foreign to the question at issue, he persists till he reaches the solution."



PLEASE, LET US HONOR ALL THE MUSES Nov 3-4,2012 The Wall Street Journal

Regarding the letters of Oct 31, on the liberal arts versus sciences: Four decades ago the late Mortimer Adler gave a lecture at the University of Kansas in which he accused C.P. Snow of committing the fallacy of false dilemma.

   The important divide in academia should not be drawn between science and the humanities; that was the difference between Tweedledum and tweedledee. Rather, it should be between what Adler called "everybody's business," or general knowledge, and specialized knowledge.

    Adler posited that every educated person should know something about physics, something about Shakespeare, something about American history and something about mathematics. However, since the adoption of the the 19th-century German model of university education, the ivory tower has become populated almost exclusively by specialists, Ph.D.s in progressively narrower academic cubbyholes.

   Henceforth, classes in Shakespeare devoted disproportionate energy to the examination of who the Bard really was, rather than the universal conversation which the Bard promoted: and the indispensability of George Washington was lost in discussions on the inexcusability of Wounded Knee.

   We want specialists engineering our skyscrapers. But we also want those engineers to know that the quality of mercy isn't strained, even though the girders are."

-Doug Iliff Topeka KS.




"In theory it is easy to convince an ignorant person; in actual life, men not only object to offer themselves to be convinced, but hate the man who has convinced them."





"Smart people are especially susceptible to foolishness because they believe they are immune to it."

-Walter B. Pitkin

A Short Introduction to the History of Human Stupidity



"The most brilliant mind can be dead wrong."

-David Fasold



"Much learning does not make a scholar."

-Aulus Gellius



"It is a difficult task to give novelty to what is old, authority to what is new, brilliance to the commonplace, light to the obscure, attraction to the stale..."

-Pliny the Elder



ED note  I recommend as the beginning of an education a book "A Short Introduction to the History of Human Stupidity" by Walter B. Pitkin  1932

:"Pitkin defines intelligence in a reasonable way, as 'the ability of the individual to adjust successfully to new situations...He defines stupidity as the opposite."  (Please note political leaders ignoring of the unpleasant facts facing humanity and decide for yourself)



"Wisdom can be defined as using one's academic and practical intelligence, as well as one's knowledge base, for a common good over the long and short terms by balancing competing interests. .."




"One could get a first-class education from a shelf of books five feet long."

Charles Eliot (former President of Harvard)



   "Put five books together on a shelf and you have a library. Add another 20,000 volumes and you still have a library-a bigger one, though not necessarily a better one. If all the Library of Alexandria in Egypt had on its shelves when it burned to the ground were Harlequin romances and a few dog-eared Max Brand novels, it would have been a far lesser tragedy. But it was rumored they had good stuff. A public library embodies the same idea, but people can walk in off the street, pull the books off the shelf without an employee looking over their shoulders, and take them home. All you have to do is promise to bring them back."

-Don Borchert

Free for All



"Knowledge should be a compound of what we derive from books, and what we extract by our observation, from the living world around us. Both of these are necessary to the well-informed man....The man who can combine the teachings of books with strong and close observation of life, deserves the name of a a well-informed man, and presents a model worthy of imitation"

-Sir Thomas Lipton




"Where there is the tree of knowledge, there is always paradise: so say the most ancient and the most modern serpents."

-Friedrich Nietzsche



"The secondhandedness of the learned world is the secret of its mediocrity."

-Alfred North Whitehead




"one must remember that practically all of have a significant number of special learning disabilities....For example, I am grossly unmusical and cannot carry a tune.....We happen to live in a society in which the child who has trouble learning to read is in difficulty. Yet we have all seen some dyslexic children who draw much better than controls, i.e., who have either superior visual-perception talents, while many of us who function well here might do poorly in a society in which a quite different array of talents were needed to be successful....As the demands of society change, will we acquire a new group of "minimally brain-damaged"?

-Norman Geschwind ,1972



"In the university of Oxford....the greater part of the public professors have, for these many years, given up altogether even the pretense of teaching."

-Adam Smith  the Wealth of Nations  1790




   "Oxford and Cambridge, England's only two universities, were not renowned for their scholarship. Many of their wealthy aristocratic students were more interested in drinking, gambling and hunting than in serious study; lecturers were rarely in residence, and the examinations were often a formality. A foreign visitor was horrified at the mould growing on the library books at Magdalene, and the famous historian Edward Gibbon lamented that his spell at Oxford was 'the fourteen months the most idle and unprofitable of my whole life'

Patricia Fara

Fatal Attraction




   "Senior members of Cambridge University usually are granted, as one of the perquisites of their standing, permanent rights to a college room or suite of rooms fashioned for two functions: scholarship and sanctuary. Some rooms in the relatively modern colleges are rather ordinary, more monastic than majestic. Some, such as those looking out over the river and the lawns at King's are enormous and sought-after: ancient grandeur personified. A room in a court at the heart of Gonville and Caius College, one of the senior collegial institutions of the university, is-because of its vast history-likely to be a particularly agreeable place, a perfect little gem, a home to be cherished by anyone fortunate enough to be granted the right to live there."

-Simon Winchester

The Man Who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom




"We now have closed-shop, massively subsidized, intolerant political fiefdoms, and they are the gate-keepers of society's rewards. Without incentives for different models of higher education, we shall have this same system of colleges and universities as far as the mind can foresee.

   The tax-free mega-endowments will grow. The legislators and the public will not end the subsidy. The alumni will continue their bequests. The Trustees will proudly attend the administrative dog-and-pony shows, the most efficient act on any campus....

   Until civil society makes administrators pay a price for the politicized hiring, curriculum, and student life offices they administer, nothing truly will be reformed."

-Alan Kors   The New Criterion




"Men die, but the plutocracy is immortal; and it is necessary that fresh generations should be trained to its service."

-Sinclair Lewis



"Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other."

-Edmund Burke (1729-1797)




"People seldom improve when they have no other model but themselves to copy after."

-Oliver Goldsmith




"Man needs more to be reminded that instructed."

-Samuel Johnson




"Don't bite my finger-look where it's pointing."

-Warren S. McCulloch




"Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous."





"To be able to be caught up into the world of thought-that is to be educated."

Edith Hamilton




"Everywhere, we learn only from those whom we love."

-Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe




"Make your friends your teachers and mingle the pleasures of conversation with the advantages of instruction."

-Baltasar Gracian



"If you can learn from hard Knocks, you can also learn from soft touches."

-Carolyn Kenmore




"I believe that love is a better teacher than a sense of duty-at least for me."





""....that is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you've understood all your life, but in a new way."

-Doris Lessing




"The recipe for perpetual ignorance is: Be satisfied with your opinions and content with your knowledge."

-Elbert Hubbard




"You should have education enough so that you won't have to look up to people; and then more education so that you will be wise enough not to look down on people."

-M.L. boren




"The greatest gift of God is a Teacher and teaching is the perpetual end and office of all things."

Ralph Waldo Emerson




"Good teachers know that now, in what's called the civilized world, the great enemy of knowledge isn't ignorance, though ignorance will do in a pinch. . The great enemy of knowledge is knowingness. it's the feeling encouraged by TV and movies and the Internet that you're on top of things and in charge. you're hip always know what's up. Cool-James Dean-style cool-was once the sign of the rebel. But the tables have turned: conformity and cool have merged. The cool character now is the knowing one, even when he's unconventional, he's never surprising-and most of all, he's never surprised. Good teachers, by contrast, are constantly fighting against knowingness by asking questions, creating difficulties, raising perplexities...."

Geek Lessons: Why Good teaching will never be fashionable. By Mark Edmundson  New York Times Magazine Sept 21,2008




"The things we know best are the things we haven't been taught."

-Marquis de Vawenargues




"The secret of the true scholar is that every man I meet is my master in some point, and in that I learn of him."

Ralph Waldo Emerson




"Much learning does not make a scholar."

-Aulus Gellius



"I can't give you brains, but I can give you a diploma."

The Wizard of Oz




"There are no uneducated people. educated; only most people are educated wrong."

-G.K. Chesterton




"A learned Blockhead is a greater Blockhead than an ignorant one."

-Ben Franklin




"School produces mental perversion and absolute stupidity. It produces bodily disease. It produces these things by measures which operate to the prejudice of the growing brain. It is not to be doubted that dullness, indocility, and viciousness are frequently aggravated by the lessons of school."

-Vincent Youmans   (World-Famous American Physician and Academic 1867)




".....My dangerous idea is one that most people immediately reject without giving it serious thought: School is bad for kids. It makes them unhappy and, as tests show, they don't learn much.

   When you listen to children talk about school, you easily discover what they are thinking about in school: Who likes them, who is being mean to them, how to improve their social ranking, how to get the teacher to treat them well and give them good grades.

   Schools are structured today in much the same way as they have been for hundreds of years. And for hundreds of years, philosophers and others have pointed out that school is really a bad idea...."

-Robert C. Schank




"the dirtiest lie of our age is the euphemism "education," which refers to our concentration camp for the child. We say that we value family, children, and morality: but we sacrifice all these to urges, to pecuniary gain, to momentary thrills. We want everything to be easy. We want to have our cake and eat it. So we allow our children to become brats,. For discipline is hard work. In place of hard work we have words, mere words, nice words, as we drown in words-like "education," Let us own up to the fact that we don't want to be bothered with our children."

-J.R. Nyquist

Origins of the Fourth World War



"High school-an unproductive, government-financed, baby-sitting center, providing weary adults with so many years of respite from the youthful horde pressing up to replace them. Narcotics retailers see a ready-made market amid these enervated, blank, and impressionable minds."

-J.R. Nyquist




   "The original authors of scientific studies on these behavior modifying drugs have tried to disassociate themselves from their present use by claiming that the problem isn't the  the drugs' existence, but the way doctors over-diagnose, mis-diagnose, and overmedicate. While such arguments may salvage a few individual reputations, keep in mind that the original investigators and authors have made little or not attempt to properly limit the use of their discoveries. On the contrary, we still have three-page ads in the medical journals which picture a school teacher proudly proclaiming, "How wonderful! Andy's handwriting no longer looks like hen scratchings." This is the first time in history that powerful drugs have been sold to cure poor penmanship! And sold quite successfully, I might add. More than a million children are being given these drugs, a yearly habit that stuffs tens of millions of dollars into the pockets of the drug companies

   Nowhere does the Church's* Inquisition emerge as clearly as it does through the drugging of children as a means of control. The medieval Inquisition went beyond defining unorthodox beliefs and behavior as a "sin" and started calling them a crime. Criminals were punished, first by the church and then by the secular authorities. Modern Medicine sets up its Inquisition to define behavior which doesn't conform as sick. Then it proceeds to "punish" the guilty by "managing" them with drugs. Since the primary purpose of schools is not to liberate the intelligence through learning but to create properly socialized and manageable citizens, the Medical church and the State join forces to maintain public order. The Church enforces the behavior standards that suit the State, and the State- enforces the exclusive view of reality that allows the Church to flourish. all in the name of Health-which in reality, is not even a minor consideration of either party."

-Robert S Mendelsohn, M.D.

Confessions of a Medical Heretic  (pub 1979) *The Medical Establishment




"The textbooks are written for the dullest brains. Moneys are extorted by spendthrift legislators and the students are compelled by mandatory attendance laws; all based upon the theory that the child will learn something."

-J.R. Norquist



"Every year, day after day, America's children are herded into gigantic fenced camps wherein roll call occurs, like clockwork, upon every hour because prisoners are bound to escape, to get loose and make trouble; little brutes soon-to-become big brutes, torment each other with open cruelties, persecutions,  and mockeries; even tormenting teachers, especially substitute teachers, with vexatious insolence, faked inabilities, rampant cheating, vandalism, pencil-breaking, paper-crumpling, and-above all-constant unpunished (and perhaps unpunishable) sniggering.

   Think of it this way: The students are locked in with one another, to corrupt and interfere with one another; to stunt one-another's growth, to pester and poke one another; but at all costs, to be kept away from the civilizing influence of adult society, until, at long last, adult society becomes yet another question.

   We have constructed an enormous confinement, a ghastly existence in which children, both bright and dull, are slowly crushed by all-encompassing horseplay, tedium and petty tyranny-which are all unavoidable elements in a "mass" system. The brightest students, of course, have the most to lose, while the rest become slaves to peer pressure; which is, the pressure to smoke dope, to drink, to mock teachers, parents, police; to take "uppers," "downers," hallucinogens', to sniff, snort, inject, copulate and impregnate themselves into adulthood. This environment this situation, is called "preparation for the real world", these the human beings, the raw material of tomorrow, shaped in a setting where the principal reality is the group and its demands: a group led by the most appealing, "coolest" children. No longer do such children believe in good and evil, authority or truth. For the vast majority only social acceptance and social rejection have significance. "

-J.R. Norquist




"Education-the great mumbo jumbo and fraud of the ages-purports to equip us to live and is prescribed as a universal remedy for everything from juvenile delinquency to premature senility.

   For the most part it serves to enlarge stupidity, inflate conceit, enhance credulity, and put those subjected to it at the mercy of brainwashers with printing presses, radio, and television at their disposal."

-Malcolm Muggeridge

Jesus Rediscovered




"Education is hanging around until you've caught on."

-Robert Frost




"Ordinary schooling produces dullness. A young man whose intellectual powers are worth cultivating cannot be willing to cultivate them by pursuing phantoms as the schools now insist upon."

-1895, the president of Harvard




"We are shut up in schools and college recitation rooms for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a belly full of words and do not know a thing."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson




"Whence it comes to pass, that for not having chosen the right course, we often take very great pains, and consume a good part of our time in training up children to things, for which, by their natural constitution, they are totally unfit."



"The only persons who seem to have nothing to do with the education of the children are the parents."

-G.K. Chesterton



"The soul takes nothing with

her into the other world

but her education and culture."




"If the government would make up its mind to require for every child a good education, it might save itself the trouble of providing one. It might leave to parents to obtain the education where and how they pleased, and content itself with helping to pay the school fees of the poorer classes of children, and defraying the entire school expenses of those who have no else to pay for them."

-J.S. Mill




"It may be that we should stop putting so much emphasis in our own minds on the monetary value of a college education and put more emphasis on the intangible social and cultural values to be derived from learning. The time may be coming when we will have to start accepting the idea that education is life, not merely a preparation for it."

-Seymour E. Harris




"[We are producing] more and more people who will be dissatisfied because the artificially prolonged time of formal schooling will, arouse in them hopes which society cannot fulfill....These men and women will form the avant-garde of the disgruntled. It is no exaggeration to say  (people like these) were responsible for World War II"."

-Robert Ulich, Harvard Professor 1961



   "Still, educating people to consider the overall view, or big picture of what is happening in the world, isn't a strong suit of our cotemporary education and life. it should not go unnoticed that the kind of out-of-context information that students receive is part of a trend in society away from an organized framework for interpreting the world. "

-Robert Ornstein   The Right Mind



"Ninety-nine (students) out of a hundred are automata, careful to walk in prescribed paths, careful to follow the prescribed custom. This is not an accident but the result of substantial education, which, scientifically defined, is the subsumption of the individual."

-William Torrey Harris  The Philosophy of Education (1906) US Commissioner of Education from 1889 to 1906




"The great purpose of school can be realized better in dark, airless, ugly places....It is to master the physical self, to transcend the beauty of nature. School should develop the power to withdraw from the external world."

William Torey Harris

The Philosophy of Education (1906)




"....far from failing in its intended task, our educational system is in fact succeeding magnificently, because the aim is to keep the American people thoughtless enough to go on supporting the system."

-Richard Mitchell




"By 1917, the major administrative jobs in American schooling were under control of a group referred to in the press of that day as "the Education Trust." The first meeting of this trust included representatives of Rockefeller, Carnegie, Harvard, Stanford, the University of Chicago, and the National Education Association. The chief end, wrote the British evolutionist Benjamin Kidd in 1918, was to "impose on the young the ideal of subordination."

-John Taylor Gatto




"In our dreams....people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present educational conventions (intellectual and character education) fade from our minds, and unhampered by tradition we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or men of science. We have not to raise up from among them authors, educators, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians, nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we have ample supply. The task we set before ourselves is very simple....we will organize children....and teach them to do in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way."

(excerpt from the first mission statement of Rockefeller's General Education Board as it occurred in a document called Occasional Letter Number One (1906)



"Nobody in England-or America for that matter-seems to have the remotest idea of the enormity of public ignorance. Compulsory education has made every noodle the peer of the greatest knowers and thinkers-in his own estimation. The really educated classes have lost their prestige. The public imagines itself entitled to pronounce with authority on questions which the experts hold most debatable."

-Aleister Crowley 1922


"To spend more time in learning is better than spending more time praying; the support of religion is abstinence. It is better to teach knowledge one hour in the night than to pray the whole night."

                 Muhammed (Sayings of Muhammed)




"You have learnt something. That always feels at first as if you had lost something."

-George Bernard Shaw


"Go in quest of knowledge even unto China.*"

              Muhammed (Sayings of Muhammed)

* i.e. even unto the 'edge of the earth."


"He who leaveth home in search of knowledge, walketh in the path of God."





"A man learns to skate by staggering about making a fool of himself. Indeed he progresses in all things by resolutely making a fool of himself."

George Bernard Shaw




"Learning is not attained by chance. It must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence."

Abagail Adams




"Learning: In order to learn, there must be two ingredients: humility and interest."

Bill Wilkinson

Attunement with Life



"In times of change learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists."

Eric Hoffer




".....and education too, as Henry Adams always sez, keeps going on forever."

Thomas Pynchon



"Few men make themselves masters of the things they write or speak."

John Selden

Table Talk mid 17th century




"The educated man tries to repress the inferior one in himself, without realizing that by this he forces the latter to become revolutionary."

-C.G. Jung

Psychology and Religion




   "Nobody really likes a man who knows everything, and Aristotle, became the first known victim of the world's first academic politics. Though he was an alumnus of the Academy and its most celebrated teacher, and clearly the man best qualified to succeed Plato as its director, he was twice passed over for the post. He then took the only satisfactory course open to a man of his stature, and stalked off to teach at another institution. As there was no other academic institution, he was obliged to found one, such was the origin of the Lyceum."

-Timothy Ferris

Coming Of Age In The Milky Way




"Man's main task in life is to become what he potentially is. The most important product of his effort is his own personality."

Erich Fromm




"Who exactly do you want to be? What kind of person do you want to be? What are your personal ideals? Whom do you admire? What are their special traits that you would make your own?

   It's time to stop being vague. If you wish to be an extraordinary person, if you wish to be wise, then you should explicitly identify the kind of person you aspire to become. If you have a daybook, write down who you're trying to be, so that you can refer to this self-definition. Precisely describe the demeanor you want to adopt so that you may preserve it when you are by yourself or with other people."





"The only means of strengthening one's intellect is to make up one's mind about nothing-to let the mind be a thoroughfare for all thoughts."

-John Keats




   "Under the forcing system a young gentleman usually took leave of his spirits in three weeks. he had all the cares of the world on his head in three months. He conceived bitter sentiments against his parents or guardians in four: he was an old misanthrope, in five: envied Curtius that blessed refuge in the earth in six; and at the end of the first twelve-month had arrived at the conclusion, from which he never afterwards departed, that all the fancies of the poets, and lessons of the sages, were a mere collection of words and grammar, and had no other meaning in the world."

Charles Dickens

Dombey and Son




"To teach and to suggest to their children how to be insincere with others and deceitful in everything, has become so ingrained in the beings of the planet Earth at the present-time that it has become their conception of their duty towards their children; and this kind of conduct towards their children they call by the famous word 'education.'





"I am always for getting a boy forward in his learning: for that is a sure good. I would let him at first read any English book which happens to engage his attention; because you have done a great deal when you have brought him to have entertainment from a book. He'll get better books afterwards."

-James Boswell  Life of Samuel Johnson




"I had the good fortune to become acquainted very early with some characters of very high standing and to feel the incessant wish that I could even become what they were. Under temptations and difficulties, I could ask myself, "What would Dr. Small, Mr. in this situation? What course in it will ensure me their approbation?" I am certain that this mode of deciding on my conduct tended more to its correctness than any reasoning powers I possessed."

-Thomas Jefferson



"I sometimes think it would be better to drown children than to lock them up in present-day schools."

-Marie Curie 1907




"Osama Bin Laden is not going to come here and destroy America. Our education system is doing that just fine."

-Geoffrey Canada  (director of the Harlem Children's Zone, Charter School)



 "(We are) shrinking from....the responsibility of affirming the truth of our human tradition and handing it on with a voice of authority, an unshaken voice. That is the one eternal education; to be sure enough that something is true that you dare to tell it to a child. From this high audacious duty the moderns are fleeing on every side; and the only excuse for them is (of course,) that their modern philosophies are so half-baked and hypothetical that they cannot convince themselves enough to convince even a newborn babe....Obviously, it ought to be the oldest things that are taught to the youngest people; the assured and experienced truths that are put first to the baby. But in a school to-day the baby has to submit to a system that is younger than himself."

-G.K. Chesterton




"I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It's my personal approach that creates the climate. It's my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess tremendous power to make a child's life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal."

Haim Ginott


"It is the duty, and ought to be the pleasure, of age and experience to warn and instruct youth and to come to the aid of experience. When sailors have discovered rocks or breakers, and have had the good luck to escape with life from amidst them, they, unless they be pirates or barbarians as well as sailors, point out the spots for the placing of buoys and of lights, in order that others may not be exposed to the danger which they have so narrowly escaped. What man of common humanity, having, by good luck, missed being engulfed in a quagmire or quicksand, will withhold from his neighbors a knowledge of the peril without which the dangerous spots are not to be approached?"

-William Cobbett  "Advice to Young Men and (incidentally) To Young Women in The Middle and Higher Ranks of Life." 1829



"I would have everybody able to read, and write, and cipher: indeed I don't think a man can know too much; but mark you, the knowing of these things is not education; and there are millions of your reading and writing people who are as ignorant as neighbor Norton's calf, that did not know its own mother."

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

John Ploughman's Pictures




"Give a professor a false thesis in early life, and he will teach it till he dies. He has no way of correcting it."

John Jay Chapman   (1900)



The more scholastically educated a man is generally, the more he is an emotional boor."

D.H. Lawrence




"A little learning is a dangerous thing;

Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring:

There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,

And drinking largely sobers us again."

Alexander Pope (1711) 

"An Essay on Criticism"




"Thoughtful people today are sometimes moved to wonder why the world no longer has use for a liberally educated class. Surely the answer lies in this abandonment of generalization for specialization, which is the very process of fragmentation."

Richard M. Weaver

Ideas have Consequences


   "In short, specialization is biologically, socially and intellectually necessary. The highest reaches of education will always involve learning one thing in great depth. The great artist or scientist often achieves the heights of performance through intensive cultivation of a narrow sector of his potentialities.

   clearly, then, we cannot do away with specialization, nor would we wish to. But in the modern world it has extended far beyond anything we knew in the past. And, unfortunately, there are many tasks that can be effectively performed only by men and women who have retained some capacity to function as generalists-leadership and management, certain kinds of innovation, communication and teaching and many of the responsibilities of child-rearing and of citizenship. Furthermore, the extremely specialized man may lost the adaptability so essential in a changing world. he may be unable to reorient himself when technological changes make his specialty obsolete.

   Note that it is not a question of doing away with the specialist. it is a question of retaining some capacity to function as a generalist, and the capacity to shift to new specialties as circumstances require."

-John W. Gardner





   "In every country the problem of the balance of the general and specialist education is under consideration. I cannot speak with first-hand knowledge of any country but my own. I know that there, among practical educationalists, there is considerable dissatisfaction with the existing practice. Also, the adaptation of the whole system to the needs of a democratic community is very far from being solved. I do not think that the secret thoroughness in special knowledge and general knowledge of a slighter character. The make-weight which balances the thoroughness of the specialist intellectual training should be of a radically different kind from purely intellectual analytical knowledge. At present our education combines a thorough study of a few abstractions, with a slighter study of a larger number of abstractions. We are too exclusively bookish in our scholastic routing. The general training should aim at eliciting our concrete apprehensions, and should satisfy the itch of youth to be doing something. There should be some analysis even here, but only just enough to illustrate the ways of thinking in diverse spheres. In the Garden of Eden Adam saw the animals before he named them: in the traditional system, children named the animals before they saw them."

-Alfred North Whitehead

Science and the Modern World




"A man only learns by two things, one is reading and the other is association with smarter people."

Will Rogers




"If we think of it, all that a University, or final highest School can do for us, is still but what the first school began doing,-teach us to read. We learn to read, in various languages, in various sciences; we learn the alphabet and letters of all manner of Books. But the place where we are to get knowledge, even theoretic knowledge, is the Books themselves! It depends on what we read, after all the manner of Professors have done their best for us. The true University of these days is a Collection of Books."

-Thomas Carlyle, "The Hero as Man of Letters"


".....Let us build a Pantheon for professors. It should be located among the ruins of the gutted cities of Europe or Japan, and over the entrance to the ossuary I would inscribe, in letters six or seven feet high, the simple words: Sacred to the Memory of the World's Educators.Si Monumentum Requiris Circumspice."

Aldous Huxley

Brave New World



"The pursuit of learning is not a race in which the competitors jockey for the best place, it is not even an argument or a symposium; it is a conversation. And the peculiar virtue of a university (as a place of man studies) is to exhibit it in this character, each study appearing as a voice whose tone is neither tyrannous nor plangent, but humble and conversable. A conversation does not need a chairman, it has no predetermined course, we do not ask what it is 'for', and we do not judge its excellence by its conclusion; it has no conclusion, but is always put by for another day. Its integration is not superimposed but springs from the quality of the voices which speak, and its value lies in the relics it leaves behind in the mind of those who participate....

   A university will have ceased to exist when its learning has degenerated into what is now called research, when its teaching has become mere instruction and occupies the whole of an undergraduate's time, and when those who came to be taught come, not in search of their intellectual fortune but with a vitality so unroused or so exhausted that they wish only to be provided with a serviceable moral and intellectual outfit; when they come with no understanding of the manners of conversation but desire only a qualification for earning a living or a certificate to let them in on the exploitation of the world."

Michael Oakenshott

Michael Oakenshott on Education, ed by Timothy Fuller,Oxford Today



"Quite possibly, comic books may emerge as the most influential form of teaching known to man."

                                   Coulton Waugh, 1947




"The only thing to teach is how to fall in love, what to do then to make it last. To make it a lifetime thing. To teach how to find out more about the beloved. To build something with the beloved, within the beloved."

Anne Herbert




"How we hate this solemn Ego that accompanies the learned, like a double, wherever he goes."

Emerson, Journals, 1839




"No man is the wiser for his learning; it may may administer matter to work in, or objects to work upon, but wit and wisdom are born with a man."

John Selden (table talk mid 17th century)




"Continual learning is essential for lifetime growth. You can have a great deal of experience and be no smarter for all the things you've done, seen, and heard. Experience alone is no guarantee of lifetime growth. But if you regularly transform your experience into new lessons, you will make each day of your life a source of growth. The smartest people are those who can transform even the smallest events or situations into breakthroughs in thinking and action. Look at all of lfie as a school and every experience as a lesson, and your learning will always be greater than your experience."

-Dan Sullivan & Catherine Nomura

The Laws of Lifetime Growth



"The founding Fathers in their wisdom decided that children were an unnatural strain on parents. So they provided jails called schools, equipped with tortures called an education. School is where you go between when your parent can’t take you and industry can’t take you."

John Updike




   "The notion that schoolboys are generally content with their lot seems to me to be a sad delusion. They are, in the main, able to bear it, but they like it no more than a soldier enjoys life in a foxhole. The need to endure it makes actors of them; they learn how to lie-perhaps the most valuable thing, to a citizen of Christendom, that  they learn in school. No boy genuinely loves and admires his teacher; the farthest he can go, assuming him to have all of his wits, is to tolerate her as he tolerates castor oil. She may be the loveliest flower in the whole pedagogical garden, but the most he can ever see in her is a jailer who might conceivably be worse. 

   School days, I believe, are the unhappiest in the whole span of human existence. They are full of dull, unintelligible tasks, new and unpleasant ordinances, brutal violations of common sense and common decency. It doesn't take a reasonably bright boy long to discover that most of what is rammed into him is nonsense, and that no one really cares very much whether he learns it or not. His parents, unless they are infantile in mind, tend to be bored by his lessons and labors, and are unable to conceal the fact from his sharp eyes. His first teachers he views simply as disagreeable policemen. His later one he usually sets down quite accurately as asses."

H.L. Mencken

(from the Baltimore Evening Sun, October 8,1928)



"All shall be straightened as by the schoolmaster's ruler, and transcribed from his copy. he shall decide what may or may not be asked. But he must be normalized himself. He must be fashioned to a model. He shall only be taught particular things. The compress and tourniquet are set on his mind. He can only be suffered to think one way...All schools will be filled with the same books. All teachers will be imbued with the same spirit. And under their cold and lifeless tuition, the national spirit, now warm and independent, will grow into a type formal and dull, one harsh outline with its crisp edges, a mere complex machine driven by external impulse. "

George Smith (1846 The Eclectic Review)



"A general state education is a mere contrivance for molding people to be exactly like one another; and the mold in which it casts them is that which pleases the predominant power in the government."

John Stuart Mill




   "Today a vortex of statutory power propels American children ever more completely into the grasp of federal authority. Through a bevy of statutes adopted in 1994-the Goals 2000: Educate America Act; the National Skill Standards Act; the Educational Research, Development, Dissemination, and Improvement Act; the School-to-Work Opportunities Act; and the Improving America's Schools Act-the federal government established the institutional framework to exercise power unthinkable in earlier times. These include: 

-power to orchestrate the nationalization of elementary and secondary school curriculum around eight federally established goals;

-power to use government schools to draw families into cradle-to-grave federal social services;

-power to occupy schools more fully with job training at the expense of academic education;

-power to channel children into specific job tracks at very young ages;-power to channel children into specific job tracks at very young ages;

-power to control through certification who is allowed to enter specific jobs; and

-power to intervene in the lives and homes of parents whose children are in their preschool years, from birth to age five.

The federal government is now using these powers to work explicitly toward yet earlier government intervention in children's lives, ever more completely usurping the family's role in shaping children's character. Indeed, unbeknownst to most Americans, Goals 2000-spawned programs are underway in most states to send government-paid "certified parent educators" into preschool children's homes."

Charlotte A. Twight

Dependent On D.C.




After decades of business-as-usual school reform, too many of our nation's children still cannot read. After spending $125 billion of Title I money over 25 years, we have virtually nothing to show for it. Fewer than a third of fourth graders can read at grade level."

Rod Paige (Former Secretary of Education)


"Veteran teacher John Taylor Gatto, recipient of New York state and city "Teacher of the Year" awards, regards the problems of the existing system as insurmountable. He contends that public schools teach children seven basic lessons: intellectual confusion, acceptance of one's class position, indifference, emotional dependency, intellectual dependency, provisional self-esteem, and the fact that "one can't hide" or have privacy in government educational institutions-all lessons that irreparably damage students' intellectual development. After twenty-six years of public school teaching, Gatto has "come to believe that government monopoly schools are structurally unreformable"

Charlotte A. Twight

Dependent on D.C.



"A small number of very passionate American ideological leaders including Horace Mann of Massachusetts, Calvin Stowe of Ohio, Barnas Sears of Connecticut, and others visited Prussia in the first half of the 19th century, fell in love with the order, obedience, and efficiency they saw there, attributed the well-regulated, machine-like society to its educational system, and campaigned relentlessly upon returning home to bring the Prussian vision to these shores....So at the behest of Horace Mann and other leading citizens, without any national debate or discussion, we adopted Prussian schooling or rather, most had it imposed upon them....The one-and two-room schoolhouses, highly efficient as academic transmitters, breeders of self-reliance and independence, intimately related to their communities, almost exclusively female-led, and largely un-administered, had to be put to death."

Gatto foreword to Cathy Duffy, "Government Nannies: The Cradle-to-Grave Agenda of Goals 2000 and Outcome-Based Education"

"....inert ideas, that is to say, ideas that are merely received into the mind without being utilized or tested or thrown into fresh combinations....Education with inert ideas is not only useless; it is, above all things, harmful....Except at rare intervals of intellectual ferment, education in the past has been radically infected with inert ideas."

Alfred North Whitehead




"…..After a lifetime of working in the field of intelligence measurement, E.I. Thorndike observed that intelligence tests suffer from three small defects: "Just what they measure is not known; how far it is proper to add, subtract, multiply, divide, and compute ratios with the measures obtained is not known; just what the measures signify concerning intellect is not known. " In other words, those who administer intelligence tests quite literally do not know what they are doing."

Neil Postman

Technopoly (see None of the above)


"Few ‘scientific’ concepts have so thoroughly muddled the thinking of both scientists and the general public as that of the "intelligence quotient; or IQ. The idea that intelligence can be quantitatively measured along a single linear scale has caused untold harm to our society in general, and to education in particular."

Joseph Weizenbaum



"My dear Mother,

If you don’t let me come home I die-I am all over ink, and my fine clothes have
been spoilt-I have been tost in a blanket, and seen a ghost,

I remain , my dear dear Mother,

Your dutiful and most unhappy son,


p.s. Remember me to my Father.

Frederick Reynolds, schoolboy letter, on his second day of school, (written 1775, published in Westminster School’s magazine, The Elizabethan, London, Feb 1983




"The forces that put the Edsel out of business do not apply to Harvard Professors."

Robert H. Bork


"In the twenty-first century, the school diploma will disappear. Employers will be more interested in what a student knows right now than what he once knew."

William Knoke

Bold New World




"Because of the advancement of knowledge, learning will become not a one-time event like a vaccination, but rather an ongoing process for life."

William Knoke

Bold New World



"It is said that since the invention of the steam engine we live in a new era, an era so different from all preceding ages that the cultural tradition is no longer relevant, is in fact misleading. I submit to you that this is a rationalization, that this is a pretended reason for the educational void which we now call education. The real reason, I venture to suggest, is that we reject the religious and classical heritage, first, because to master it requires more effort than we are willing to compel ourselves to make, and second, because it creates issues that are too deep and too contentious to be faced with equanimity. We have abolished the old curriculum because we are afraid of it, afraid to face any longer in a modern democratic society the severe discipline and the deep, disconcerting issues of the nature of the universe, and of man's place in it and of his destiny."

-Walter Lippman   Education vs. Western Civilization Spring 1941



"With more knowledge comes a deeper, more wonderful mystery, luring one on to penetrate deeper still. Never concerned that the answer may prove disappointing, with pleasure and confidence we turn over each new stone to find unimagined strangeness leading on to more wonderful questions and mysteries-certainly a grand adventure."

Richard Feynman

What do you care what other people think?



To what do we owe these two characteristically and I would say, uniquely modern snobberies-the snobbery of stupidity and the snobbery of ignorance? What is it that makes so many of our contemporaries so anxious to be considered low-brows? I have often wondered. Here, for what they are worth, are the conclusions to which these speculations have led me.

Stupidity-snobbery and ignorance-snobbery are the fruits of universal education. Hence-for there can be no fruits without trees-their very recent appearance. The tree of universal education was only planted fifty years ago. It is now just beginning to bear."

Aldous Huxley (1932)


"Consequently, it should not come as a shock that the intellectual or "educated" man can be more harmful to society than the uneducated or unsophisticated man. The literate person has the ability to spread his ignorance abroad, to sell his dogma wholesale. The unlettered person can only pass on his beliefs to those in his immediate vicinity."

Wilmot Robertson

The Dispossesed Majority



"Schools will become clinics whose purpose is to individualize psycho-social treatment for the student, and teachers must become Psycho-social therapists. Children are to become the object of experimentation…."

(Education for the Seventies NEA pamphlet)


"It is to be expected that advances in psychology will give governments much more control over individual mentality than they now have....Education should aim at destroying free will, so that, after pupils have left school they shall be incapable, throughout the rest of their lives, of thinking or acting otherwise than as their school mast would have wished."

Bertrand Russell

The Impact of Science on Society




"Kids learning … secondary to the other goals."

NEA bulletin -1981



"the aim of public education is not to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence......Nothing could be further from the truth. The simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States.....and that is its aim everywhere else."

H.L. Mencken 

American Mercury April 1924



"The only way in which a human being can make some approach to knowing the whole of a subject is by hearing what can be said about it by persons of every variety of opinion and studying all modes in which it can be looked at by every character of mind. No wise man ever acquired his wisdom in any mode but this."

John Stuart Mill



"When scholars talk a matter over one with another, then is there a winding up, an unraveling; one or the other is convicted of error, and he then acknowledges his mistake; distinctions are drawn, and contra-distinctions; and yet thereby they are not angered. Thus do scholars, O King, discuss."


(Instructing King Melinda 150 b.c.)


"How different from the present was the youth of earlier days.
Ovid (c.e.15)




"…It is, therefore, time to ask, what story does American education wish to tell now? In a growing Technopoly, what do we believe education is for? The answers are discouraging, and one of them can be inferred from any television commercial urging the young to stay in school. The commercial will either imply or state explicitly that education will hell the persevering student to get a good job. And that’s it. Well, not quite. There is also the idea that we educate ourselves to compete with the Japanese or the Germans in an economic struggle to be number one. Neither of these purposes is, to say the least, grand or inspiring. The story each suggests is that the United States is not a culture but merely an economy., which is the last refuge of an exhausted philosophy of education. This belief, I might add, is precisely reflected in the President’s Commission Report, A Nation at Risk , where you will find a definitive expression of the idea that education is an instrument of economic policy and of very little else."

Neil Postman





"…The Curriculum is not, in fact, a "course of study: at all but a meaningless hodepodge of subjects. It does not even put forward a clear vision of what constitutes an educated person, unless it is a person who possesses "skills". In other words. A Technocrat’s ideal-a person with no commitment and no point of view but with plenty of marketable skills."

Neil Postman





"The teacher's task is not to implant facts but to place the subject to be learned in front of the learner and through sympathy, emotion, imagination and patience, to awaken in the learner the restless drive for answers and insights which enlarge the personal life and give it meaning."

Nathan M. Pusey, (President, Harvard)




   "Today the old pedagogy has gone out, and a new and complicated science has taken its place. Unluckily, it is largely the confection of imbeciles, and so the unhappiness of the young continues. In the whole realm of human learning there is no faculty more fantastically incompetent than that of pedagogy. If you doubt it, go read the pedagogical journals. Better still, send for an armful of the theses that Kandidaten write and publish when they go up for their Ph.D.'s . Nothing worse is to be found in the literature of astrology, scientific salesmanship, or Christian Science. But the poor school-ma'ams, in order to get set in their trade, must make shift to study it, and even to master it. No wonder their dreams are of lawful domestic love, even with the curse of cooking thrown in."

H.L. Mencken

Baltimore Evening Sun, Oct ,1928)




"Everything must be made as simple as possible but not one bit simpler."

Albert Einstein



"The only thing the young should be taught is that there is virtually nothing to be hoped for from life. One dreams of a Catalogue of Disappointments which would include all the disillusionments reserved for each and every one of us, to be posted in the schools."

E.M. Cioran




"The liberation of the human mind has been best furthered by gag fellows who heaved dead cats into sanctuaries and then went roistering down the highways of the world, proving to all men that doubt, after all, was safe-that the god in the sanctuary was a fraud, one horse-laugh is worth ten thousand syllogisms"

H.L. Mencken


"Education toward the goal of individuality must cope with the difficulty of trying to prepare people for life’s tasks with the least interference with their inherent nature, so that the desire for further growth can remain the motivating force throughout life. Repeatedly, in the different stages of life, patterns which once provided security have to be renounced so that new potentials can take their place. Since this cannot be brought about arbitrarily, it requires that time and again we return to our roots."

Magda Proskauer




"One of the unfortunate things about our education system is that we do not teach students how to avail themselves of their subconscious capabilities."

Bill Lear




"We are now at the point where we must educate people in what nobody knew yesterday, and prepare in our schools for what no one knows yet but what some people must know tomorrow."

Margaret Mead




"To be able to ask a question clearly is two-thirds of the way to getting it answered."

John Ruskin


"The world recognizes nothing short of performance, because performance, is what it needs, and promises are of no use to it."

Philip G. Harmerton




""The idea of education has been so tied to schools, universities, and professors that many assume there is no other way, but education is available to anyone within reach of a library, a post office, or even a newsstand."

Louis L’ Amour



"The only time my education was interrupted was when I was in school."

George Bernard Shaw



"Can the Day be far off when getting an Ivy League degree will be a sure sign of lack of intelligence?"

Jean G. Fizpatrick     (letter to the editor TIME April 7,1957)


Book: "University Secrets" by Robert D. Honigman

Book: "Gone for Good: Tales of University Life After the Golden Age" by Stuart Rojstaczer



"You promise, and solemnly engage before God, Best and Greatest, that whenever you shall enter the public library of the University, you will frame your mind to study in modesty and silence, and will use the books and furniture in such manner that they may last as long as possible. Also that you will neither in your own person steal, change, make erasures, deform, tear, cut, write notes in, interline, willfully spoil, obliterate, defile, or in any other way retrench, ill-use, wear away, or deteriorate any book or books, nor authorize any other person to commit the like; but, so far as in you lies, will stop any other delinquent or delinquents, and will make known their ill-conduct to the Vice-Chancellor or his deputy within three days after you are made aware of it yourself: so help you God, as you touch the Holy Gospels of Christ."

-Bodleian Statutes, 1610




"Is not yours the best way? To learn because one loves learning."

Louis L 'Amour



"The floating of other men’s opinions in our brains makes us not one jot the more knowing, though they happen to be true. What in them was science, is in us but opinionatrety…"





"For two centuries, the very important people who managed the affairs of this society could not believe in the importance of ideas-until one day they were shocked to discover that their children, having been captured and shaped by certain ideas, were either rebelling against their authority or seceding from their society. The truth is that ideas are all important. The massive and seemingly solid institutions  on any society-the economic institutions, the political institutions, the religious institutions-are always at the mercy of the ideas in the heads of the people who populate these institutions.  The leverage of ideas is so immense that a slight change in the intellectual climate can and will-perhaps slowly but nevertheless inexorably-twist a familiar institution into an unrecognizable shape."

-Irving Kristol




"Everyone is free to advance along this dizzying precipice or to stop and go no further. If you stay still, you will remain in ordinary life, in ordinary consciousness, with the faith, virtues, and doubts of the common man. If instead you advance, you will be overwhelmed….If you insist on g rasping what cannot be grasped, if you insist on penetrating the impenetrable, in exploring the unexplorable, then you will launch yourself into the infinite."

Victor Hugo


"A few years after I began teaching, it occurred to me that being a teacher-not being a student-provides the best education. "To teach is to learn twice," wrote Joubert, in a simple-sounding maxim that could have several different meanings. It could mean that one first learns when getting up the material one is about to teach and then tests and relearns it in the actual teaching. It could mean that being a teacher offers one a fine chance for a second draft on one's inevitably inadequate initial education. It could mean that learning, like certain kinds of love, is better the second time around. It could mean that we are not ready for education, at any rate of the kind that leads on to wisdom, until we are sixty, or seventy, or beyond. I favor this last interpretation, for it accounts for the strange feeling that I have had every year of my adult life, which is that only twelve months ago I was really quite stupid."

-Aristides....(Editor Joseph Epstein)




"Universal free compulsory college education has never been seriously suggested. What we have is more cruel. It is expensive and, by and large, irrelevant to the interests and aptitudes of the youngsters who are forced to endure the experience which impoverishes their parents and saddles them with an absurd debt with which to begin adult life."

David R. Slavitt


Book: "University,Inc. by David Harvey

Book: "The University in Ruins" by Bill Readings




   "As early as the 9th century Islamic Spain produced the original Western universities. Here, Islamic scholars and rulers organized and implemented elementary education as we know it today. In the rest of Europe organized education for the populous was unknown. In fact, it was never in place, not even in ancient Greece. Thus, the modern educational process owes its existence to the Muslims, who clearly were the first to institutionalize learning. Preschools, grade schools, high schools, and universities were all their innovations. In Cordova alone 800 public schools operated, serving some 200,000 families. Within these schools and in the universities the modern concepts of varied curriculum, diplomas, licensure for professionals, and degrees were developed. According to S.P. Scott education was so widespread that "it was difficult to find a....peasant who could not read or write." At a time when the Kings of Europe were illiterate and could only sign their names with an "X," a Muslim ruler in Spain maintained a private library of some 600,000 books."

Dr. Kasem Khaleel

The Arab Connection



"The trouble with being educated is that it cuts you off from the great mass of people who, let us be frank and admit what is obvious, aren’t . So in a savagely egalitarian society, where is the place for a man or woman of some culture."

David R. Slavitt


"A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner, so if one’s life is cold and bare he can blame none but himself. You have a chance to select from some pretty elegant furnishings."

Louis L’ Amour



"Pedants sneer at an education which is useful. But if education is not useful, what is it? ….of course, education should be useful, whatever your aim in life. It was useful to Saint Augustine and it was useful to Napoleon. It is useful, because understanding is useful."

Alfred North Whitehead




"The well-meaning people who talk of education as if it were a substance distributable by coupon in large or small quantities never exhibit any understanding of the truth that you cannot each anybody anything that he does not want to learn."

-George Sampson



   "The proliferation of the social sciences is even more dangerous than the scientific  superstition. I refer not to the real value of these sciences, which is estimable, despite the frailty of their methods and the uncertainty of their conclusions, but to the misuse of them by ideologues wearing the mask of professor or scientific researcher. The harm done has been twofold: political and aesthetic. Our classics, apart from their being examples of formal perfection and sources of spiritual pleasure, were teachers of political wisdom for two millennia. Today this function is fulfilled by professors of sociology and so-called political science. The majority of these people are ignorant of the classical heritage, or scorn it. Firmly seated on their dogmas, they impart from their university chairs formulas that explain any and every social phenomenon save that of their own peculiar position in the modern world..."

Octavio Paz

The Other Voice



"Some information is simply not safe for us-not because there is something wrong with its possession in the abstract, but because it is the sort of thing we humans are not well suited to cope with. There are various things we simply ought not to know. If we did not have to live our lives amidst a fog of uncertainty about a whole range of matters that are actually of fundamental interest and importance to us, it would no longer be a human mode of existence that we would live. Instead we would become a being of another sort, perhaps angelic, perhaps machine-like, but certainly not human.

    There is a more deeply problematic issue, however. Are there also moral limits to the possession of information per se-are there things we ought not to know on moral grounds?....Here, inappropriateness lies only in the mode of acquisition or in the prospect of misuses. With information, possession in and of itself-independently of the matter of its acquisition and utilization-cannot involve moral impropriety."

Nicholar Rescher

Limits of Science



"The function of education has never been to free the mind and the spirit of man, but to bind them; and to the end that the mind and spirit of children should never escape homo Sapiens has employed praise, ridicule, admonition, accusation, mutilation, and even torture to chain them to the culture pattern. Throughout most of his historic course Homo Sapiens has wanted from his children acquiescence, not originality."

Jules Henry

Culture Against Man


"Learning social studies is, to no small extent, whether in elementary school or the University, learning to be stupid. Most of us accomplish this task before we enter high school."

Jules Henry

Culture against Man


   "Since I never really stopped going to school after Santa Clara, or at least never stopped teaching in one, I am not a good judge of the sundry claims that the various universities have made for their own peculiar excellences. I am in fact skeptical about it all. Political correctness is pretty widespread. I think in general that you can get a terrible education in the best and most expensive universities and that in fact most students do; I think Allan Bloom was right. I likewise think that today some of the finest educations can be had at very small out-of-the-way places like Thomas Aquinas College in California, or the University of Dallas, or Wheaton College in Illinois, or the philosophy department at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Moreover, if you are lucky you can get a very good education in the worst of schools. A lot depends on you and who you run into, something at which Plato hinted. It is even possible indeed likely, that those who educate you in the truth may not be found in any university at all. Augustine found a book of Cicero in some out of the way place in Carthage, and he happened to hear Ambrose in a church in Milan."

James V. Schall S.J.

On the Unseriousness of Human Affairs




   "Ultimately, we are in charge of ourselves, whether we be in the worst, in the middling, or in the best academies. This fact does not mean that teachers are irrelevant, but perhaps they are not as relevant as they might like to think. "

James V. Schall S.J.




"What then is the central issue? The central issue is love of knowledge for its own sake, not as the creature of drive, exploited largely for survival and prestige"

Jules Henry

Culture Against Man



"It is a great sweetness to go wandering and discoursing together amid truths."



"It becomes rather easy to understand why Galileo should have found his warmest partisans among writers, artists, and enlightened amateurs, while he had most of the professional scholars aligned against him."

Giorgio de Santillanna

The Crime of Galileo



"Man is capable of rectifying, by discussion and experience. Not by experience alone. There must be discussion, to show how experience is to be interpreted. Wrong opinions and practices gradually yield to fact and argument; but facts and arguments, to produce any effect on the mind, must be brought before it. Very few facts are able to tell their own story, without comments to bring out their meaning."

John Stuart Mill 1864

On Liberty



"Schools tried to extend a radical monopoly on learning by redefining it as education. As long as people accepted the teacher’s definition of reality, those who learned outside school were officially stamped "uneducated."

Ivan Illich

Tools for Conviviality


"A general State education is a mere contrivance for molding people to be exactly alike one another; and as the mold in which it casts them is that which pleases the predominant power in the government, whether this be a monarch, a priesthood, an aristocracy, or a majority of the existing generation; in preparation as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by a natural tendency to one over the body."

John Stuart Mill



"Sometimes I think that the greatest achievement of Modern Culture is its brilliant selling of Samsara and its barren distractions. Modern society seems to me a celebration of all the things that lead away from the truth, make truth hard to live for , and discourage people from even believing that it exists. And to think all this springs from a civilization that claims to adore life, but actually starves it of any real meaning; that endlessly speaks of making people "happy" , but in fact blocks their way to the source of real joy."

Sogyel Rinpoche

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying




"The most urgent need today is not attention to material poverty. The real poverty in our society is intellectual."

James V. Schall



"Learning is the very essence of humility, learning from everything and from everybody. There is no hierarchy in learning. Authority denies learning and a follower will never learn."




"If America is to address the current crisis in education in a responsible way, we must discover how to celebrate intellectuals; for when learned adults are admired as essential to society rather than being scorned as snobs or mocked as obscurantists, young people will be proud rather than ashamed of being interested in reading and learning."



"Thou has most traitorously corrupted the youth of the realm in erecting a grammar school."

William Shakespeare



"Do what you are afraid to do."

Mary Emerson (1774-1863)



"I’m only attending school until it becomes available on CD-Rom."

Anonymous sixth grader




"You must create your own world. I am responsible for my world."

Louise Nevelson



"Before they arrive, we ply students with luscious ads, guaranteeing them a cross between summer camp and lotus land. Once here, flattery and nonstop entertainment are available, if that’s what they want."

Mark Edmundson




"Assimilate every mistake without dwelling on it. By all means, you should do whatever you can to get off your own back."

Dr. Richard M. Suinn


"…In point of fact, the first instance of grading students papers occurred at Cambridge University in 1792 at the suggestion of a tutor named William Farish. No one knows much about William Farish; not more than a handful have ever heard of him. And yet his idea that a quantitative value should be assigned to human thoughts was a major step toward constructing a mathematical concept of reality. If a number can be given to the quality of a thought, then a number can be given to the qualities of mercy, love, hate, beauty, creativity, intelligence, even sanity itself. When Galileo said that the language of nature is written in mathematics, he did not mean to include human feelings or accomplishments or insight. But most of us are now inclined to make these inclusions. Our psychologists, sociologists, and educators find it quite impossible to do their work without numbers. They believe that without numbers they cannot acquire or express authentic knowledge."

Neil Postman


Book: The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Nicholas Lemann



"Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value…Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit there from




"The only way in which a human being can make some approach to knowing the whole of a subject is by hearing what can be said about it by persons of every variety opinion and studying all modes in which it can be looked at by every character of mind. No wise man ever acquired his wisdom in any mode but this."

John Stuart Mill




"…The establishment of more schools in Malaysia or Brazil teaches people the accountant’s view of the value of time, the bureaucrat’s view of the value of promotion, the salesman’s view of the purpose of work. People are taught all this not by the teacher but by the curriculum hidden in the structure of school. It does not matter what the teacher teaches so long as the pupil has to attend hundreds of hours of age-specific assemblies to engage in a routine decreed by the curriculum and is graded according to his ability to submit."

Ivan Illich

Tools for Conviviality



"The invention of education is an example of what I mean. We often forget that education acquired its present sense only recently. It was unknown before the reformation, except as that part of early upbringing which is common to piglets, ducks, and men. It was clearly distinguished from the instructions needed by the young, and from the study in which some engaged later on in life and for which a teacher was needed. Voltaire still called it a presumptuous neologism, used only by pretentious school-masters."

Ivan Illich

Tools for Conviviality



"Education is what remains when you have forgotten everything you learned in school."




"You need no teacher. The universe is your teacher, the forest are your teachers. You will know when you fail to learn, for failure is punished with boredom. If you develop even the least flicker of sensitivity, the universe will come alive within you."

Brian Swimme

The Universe is a Green Dragon



Vivendo Discimus: "We learn by living." (or possibly we don’t…and it could take too long)


"Whoso neglects learning in his youth, loves the past and is dead for the future."


Book: "Escape from Skepticism: Liberal Education as if the Truth Mattered." by Christopher Derrick




   "It troubles me these days when I hear education spoken of as something we ought to desire because it will help us improve the world. Its purest purpose is to improve us. The only sign of an educated person that I can recognize is the enjoyment he takes in the use of his own mind. Of course the world benefits from this, but first of all he does. So with reading. Let it be for entertainment, the deepest and most personal pleasure of mankind."

Mark Van Doren


"In large states public education will always be mediocre, for the same reason that in large kitchens the cooking is usually bad."



"It has done me good to be somewhat parched by the heat and drenched by the rain of life."



"There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn comes to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried."



"Soul loss is regarded as the gravest diagnosis in (Shamanism), being seen as cause of illness and death. Yet it is not referred to at all in modern Western books."

Jeanne Achterberg



"To live remains an art which everyone must learn, and which no one can teach."

Havelock Ellis



"Learning is not easy, but hard; Culture is severe. The steps to Parnassus are steep and terribly arduous."

John Jay Chapman




"There are no easy methods of learning difficult things; the method is to close your door, give out that you are not at home, and work."

Joseph De Maistre




"O, what a brave thing it is, in every case and circumstance of a matter, to be thoroughly well-informed!"





"To be master of any branch of knowledge, you must master those which lie next to it; and thus to know anything you must know all."

Oliver Wendall Holmes, Jr.




"If we would have new knowledge, we must get a whole world of new questions."

Susanne K. Langer



"If a little knowledge is dangerous, where is the man who has so much as to be out of danger?"

Thomas Henry Huxley


"Knowledge rests not upon truth alone, but upon error also."

Carl Jung


"Specialization makes sleepwalkers of us all; the global village predicted by the seers of the 1969’s is being replaced by electronic cottages populated by isolated dreamers. We do not know our neighbors. If we are financial experts, we are speechless in the presence of research chemists; if we are scholars, we cannot make out the grimaces of merchants. We are a nation of lonely molecules."

Earl Shorris

A Nation of Salesmen*

*Ed Note: See the revival of "Death of a Salesman" in 2012



"I was taught that the way of progress is neither swift nor easy."

Marie Curie




"The first idea that the child must acquire, in order to be actively disciplined, is that of the difference between good and evil; and the task of the educator lies in seeing that the child does not confound good with immobility and evil with activity, as often happens in the case of old-time discipline."

Maria Montessori


"When all is said and done, the fact remains that some teachers have a naturally inspiring presence, and can make their exercises interesting, while others simply cannot."

William James

Book: "Seven who rule from the Grave"…."Brave New Schools"




"There are just a few things a teacher can do, and that only for the sensitive and the spirited."

Irwin Edmun


"Only those who have the patience to do simple things perfectly will acquire the skill to do difficult things easily."

Johann Von Schiller


"Good sense is of all things in the world most equally distributed, for everybody thinks he is so well supplied with it, that even those most difficult to please in all other matters never desire more of it than they already possess."

Rene Descartes

The Discourse on Method




"….When else in history would you find "educated" people who know more about sports than about the history of their country, or uneducated people who do not know the stories of their families and communities.."

Wendell Berry

What are People For?



"The purpose of education with us, like the purpose of society with us, has been, and is, to get away from the small farm-indeed, from the small everything. The purpose of education has been to prepare people to "take their places" in an industrial society, the assumption being that all small economic unites are obsolete. And the superstition of education assumes that this "place in society" is "up". "UP’ is the direction from small to big. Education is the way up. The popular aim of education is to put everybody "on top." Well, I think we hardly need to document the consequent pushing and trampling and kicking in the face…."

Wendell Berry


"A powerful superstition of modern life is that people are improved inevitably by education.."

Wendell Barry


"Minerva House…was a "finishing establishment for young ladies," where some twenty girls of the ages from thirteen and nineteen inclusive, acquired a smattering of everything and knowledge of nothing."

Charles Dickens


"Of all the cursed places under the sun, where the hungriest soul can hardly pick up a few grains of knowledge a girls; boarding-school is the worst. They are called finishing schools, and the name tells accurately what they are. They finish everything but imbecility and weakness and that they cultivate. They are nicely adapted machines for experimenting on the question: "Into how little space a human being can be crushed?" I have seen some souls so compressed that they would have fitted into a small thimble and found room to move there-wide room. A woman who has been for many years at one of those places carries the mark of the beast on her till she dies."

Olive Schreiner (1855-1920) South African Writer


"This process of training, by which the intellect, instead of being formed or sacrificed to some particular or accidental purpose, some specific trade or profession, or study or science, is disciplined for its own sake, for the perception of its proper object, and for its own highest culture, is called Liberal Education and though there is no one in whom it is carried as far as is conceivable, or whose intellect would be a pattern of what intellects of what real training is, and at least look towards it, and make its true scope and result, not something else, his standard of excellence; and numbers there are who may submit themselves to it, and secure it to themselves in good measure, and to set forth the right standard, and to train according to it, and to help forward all students towards it according to their various capacities, this I conceive to be the business of a UNIVERSITY."

John Henry Cardinal Newman

The Idea of a University




"Our schools face backward toward a dying system, rather than forward to the emerging new society. Their vast energies are applied to cranking out Industrial Man-people tooled for survival in a system that will be dead before they are."

Alvin Toffler



"No man should escape our universities without knowing how little he knows."

J. Robert Oppenheimer




"College, then, may be a good place for those few your people who are really drawn to academic work, who would rather read than eat, but it has become too expensive, in money, time, and intellectual effort, to serve as a holding pen for large number of our young. We ought to make it possible for those reluctant , unhappy students to find alternative ways of growing up, and more realistic preparation for the years ahead."

Caroline Bird




"While no one person can grasp the truth adequately, we cannot all fail in the attempt. Each thinker makes some statement about nature, as an individual contributes little or nothing to the inquiry. But the combination of all the conjectures results in something big….If it is only fair to be grateful not only to those whose views we can share, but also to those who have gone pretty far wrong in their guesses. They, too, have contributed something."




"It would be better not to know so many things that are not so.:

Felix Okoye




"We know nothing, not even if there is anything to know."

Democritus (500 b.c.)



"Learning social studies is, to no small extent, whether in elementary school or the university, learning to be stupid."

Jules Henry



"Once you have learned how to ask questions-relevant and appropriate and substantial questions-you will have learned how to learn and no one can keep you from learning whatever you want or need to know."

Neil Postman & Charles Weingartner

Teaching as a subversive Activity


"Do not satisfy your vanity by teaching a great many things. Awaken people’s curiosity. It is enough to open minds; do not overload them

Anatole France



"Education: the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty."

Mark Twain .


"I most certainly believe students ought to be  taught how to use the alphabet."

Neil Postman

The End of Education (see the "goddess and the alphabet" and this certainty might vanish) aa


""The known is finite, the unknown infinite; intellectually we stand on an islet in the midst of an illimitable ocean of inexplicability. Our business in every generation is to reclaim a little more land."

Thomas H. Huxley


"A man can be a star of the first magnitude in gifts, will-power and endurance, but so well balanced that he turns with the system to which he belongs without any friction or waste of energy. Another may have the same great gifts, or even finer ones, but the axis does not pass precisely through the center and he squanders half his strength in eccentric movements which weaken him and disturb his surroundings

Herman Hesse

The Glass Bead Game




"The gift of teaching is a peculiar talent, and implies a need and a craving in the teacher himself.."




"It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts."

Ethel Barrymore



"….the most profound revolution of the educational system would not be the cybernation of knowledge transmission, but the infusion of an exalted image of what man can be and the cultivation of an enhanced self-image in each individual child….The solution to the alienation and wide-spread disaffection in our society is not alone in vast social programs, but will come about through widespread adoption of a new image of our fellow man and our relation to him…

The most pervasive illness of our nation is loss of the guiding vision, and the cure is to be found in a nobler image of man and of a society in which his growth may be better nurtured."

Willis W. Hariman



   "Education today is mixing drugs with student control. In years past, if a child was acting up or caught staring out the window, he or she received a rap on the knuckles with a ruler and was told to stay with the rest of the class. Today, the child is sent to the school nurse, who oftentimes tells the parents the student has attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and recommends the administration of Prozac (94% sodium fluoride) or Ritalin, psychotropic drugs that have been shown to produce psychosis in lab rats. At least one state has put a stop to this practice. In 2001, the Connecticut House voted 141-0 on a law prohibiting school personnel from recommending to parents that their children take Ritalin or other mood-altering drugs. Republican State Representative Lenny Winkler, one of the bill's primary sponsors, quoted studies showing the number of children taking ritalin nationally jumped from 500,000 in 1987 to more than 6 million by 2001. The bill also prohibited the state's Department of Children and Families from taking children away from parents who decline to put their children on mood-altering drugs."

Jim Marrs

The Rise of the fourth Reich



"Hyperactivity is the most frequent justification for drugging children. The difficult-to-control male child is certainly not a new phenomenon, but attempts to give him a medical diagnosis are the product of modern psychology and psychiatry. At first psychiatrists called hyperactivity a brain disease. When no brain disease could be found, they changed it to 'minimal brain disease' (MBD), When no minimal brain disease could be found, the profession transformed the concept into 'minimal brain dysfunction.' when no minimal brain dysfunction could be demonstrated, the label became 'attention deficit disorder.' Now it's just assumed to be a real disease, regardless of the failure to prove it so. 'biochemical imbalance' is the code word, but there's no more evidence for that than there is for actual brain disease."

-Peter Breggin

Toxic Psychiatry


"I attribute the little I know to my not having been ashamed to ask for information, and to my rule of conversing with all description of men on those topics that from their own peculiar professions and pursuits."




"You can buy a fair beginning of an education in any bookstore with a good stock of paperback books for less than you would spend on a weeks supply of gasoline."

Louis L’Amour



"The greatest thing in all education is to make the nervous system our ally instead of our enemy."

William James



"A genuine period of the psyche was the way Grace Adams, writing in a 1936 Atlantic Monthly, described the years between 1919 and 1929; years when "literate Americans, and much of illiterate America, were more deeply interested in the what’s and whys and wherefores of the human mind than they ever were before, and that, it seems likely; they will ever be again."

Jay Stevens

Storming Heaven



"It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious."

Alfred North Whitehead



"Somewhere along the line I had fallen in love with learning and it became a life long romance. Early on I discovered it was fun to follow along the byways of history to find those treasures that await any searcher…"

Louis L ‘ Amour

Education of a traveling man



"No trace of slavery ought to mix with the studies of the freeborn man…No study, pursued under compulsion, remains rooted in the memory."

Plato (427-347 B.C.)



"You(the little man) are different from the really great man in only one thing; the great man, at one time, also was a very little man, but he developed on important ability; he learned to see where he was small in his thinking and action. Under the pressure of some task which was dear to him he learned better and better to sense the threat that came from smallness and pettiness, the great man. Then, knows when and in what he is a little man. The little man does not know he’s a little man. The little man does not know that he is little, and he is afraid of knowing it."

Wilhelm Reich



"Athens was the most educated society of the ancient world and in some respects of all time; and Athens fell as much from inner decay as from external foes. Germany has been the most literate, the most thoroughly educated nation of the twentieth century; and German bred Hitler, Nazism and the gas chambers. The Russian drive for educated. The universities of India and the Arab world, and also of Europe and America, have bred more communists than have the backward villages.

In the United States, all of our children go to school; but in many of our cities they are much worse behaved and more dangerous to society than their unschooled ancestors of a few generations ago. Modern Japan is a completely literate nation, but her literacy did not draw her back from the Marco Polo bridge or Pearl Harbor.Lenin and his closest associates, Goebbels, Goering, Hess and Schact if not Hitler himself, Klaus Fuchs and Alger Hiss, ten thousand traitors, a million suicides and tens of millions of neurotics, have all been highly educated men. After all, has not Satan always been known to be the most intelligent of created beings; and was it not he leading them to eat of the Tree of Knowledge that he drove Adam and Eve from Paradise."

James Burnham

Suicide of the West



"We like to say that "education is learning to think." The truth is that education is learning to think in ways traditionally approved. The new world in which we live is so unlike the past, even the past that is close to us, that in proportion as we are saturated in the Western cultural tradition we are incapacitated for looking clearly at our actual situation and thinking constructively about it. The better we are educated, the more we are fitted to live in a world that no longer exists."

Lynn White Jr

The Virgin & Dynamo reconsidered

M.I.T. Press



"It is of no advantage to man to know much, unless he lives according to what he knows, for knowledge has no other end than goodness; and he who is made good is in possession of a far richer treasure than he whose knowledge is the most extensive, and yet is destitute of goodness; for, what the latter is seeking by his repeat acquirements, the former already possesses."



"The human being' s first task is to learn from society and "tradition" and to find his temporary happiness in receiving 
 directions from outside. His second task is to interiorize the knowledge he has gained, sift it, sort it out, keep the good and jettison the bad. This process may be called "individuation," becoming self-directed. The third task is one which he cannot tackle until he has accomplished the first two, and for which he needs the very best help he can possibly find. It is dying to oneself, to one's likes and dislikes, to all one's egocentric preoccupations. To the extent that a person succeeds in this, he ceases to be directed from outside, and he also ceases to be self-directed. He has gained freedom or, one might say, he is then God-directed, (If he is a Christian, that is precisely what he would hope to be able to say.)

E.F. Schumacher

Good Work



"Most people are mirrors, reflecting the moods and emotions of the times; few are windows bringing light to bear on the dark corners where troubles fester. The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows."

Sydney J. Harris

Field Newspaper Syndicate



"Owing to a rash or habitual 'limiting, labeling,' misjudging and mishandling of things, important sources of knowledge often remain closed. Western humanity, in particular, will have to learn from the East to keep the mind longer and more frequently in a receptive, but keenly observing, state-a mental attitude which is cultivated by the scientist and the research worker, but should increasingly become common property. "


Nyanaponika Thera



'When people ask for education they normally mean something more than mere training, something more than mere knowledge of facts, and some thing more than a mere diversion. Maybe they cannot themselves formulate precisely what they are looking for; but I think what they are really looking for is ideas that would make the world, and their own lives, intelligible to them. When a thing is intelligible you have a sense of participation; when a thing is unintelligible you have a sense of estrangement. "Well, I don't know," you hear people say, as an impotent protest against the unintelligibility of the world as they meet it. If the mind cannot bring to the world a set- or, shall we say, a tool-box-of powerful ideas, the world must appear to it as a chaos, a mass of unrelated phenomena, of meaningless events.
 Such a man is like a person in a strange land without any signs of civilization, without maps or guideposts or indicators of any kind. Nothing has any meaning to him; nothing can hold his vital interest; he has no means of making anything intelligible to him. "

E.F. Schumacher

Small is Beautiful



"Education cannot help us as long as it accords no place to metaphysics. Whether the Subjects taught are subjects of science or of the humanities, if the teaching does not lead to a clarification of metaphysics, that is to say, of our fundamental convictions, it cannot educate a man and consequently, cannot be of real value to society. "

E.F. Schumacher



"When you know a thing to recognize that you know it, and when you do not, to know that you do not know-that is knowledge. "





"Education is the development of those mental habits that enable a man to meet adequately concrete situations."

Everett Dean Madtin



"In other words, education should enable a man to solve the problems that life sets for him with progressive profit to himself and his fellowmen. "


A. E. Wiggam



"To be educated means that your own special powers have been developed and trained so that you can exert them for the good of mankind and your own satisfaction."


Dean Gildersleeve



"What does it matter if you gain the whole world and other people do not like you? What do all the academic diplomas and degrees matter if you can't get along happily and effectively with other people. You may know all the philosophy all the arts and sciences but, as Professor James insisted, 'the human relationships are the main thing.."

A.E. Wiggam



"It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers."

James Thurber



"To be able to systematize knowledge into positive constructive thought constitutes the difference between a man of large information who never gets anywhere with what he knows, and the man who can combine his knowledge into a logical synthetic whole and who does get somewhere."

Albert Edward Wiggam

The Marks of an Educated Man



"The correlation between Federal involvement (in education) and academic deterioration is almost perfect."

Congressman Lawrence McDonald



"Imagination is more important than knowledge. "

Albert Einstein



"But were the psychologist to say simply "Some learning is a matter of conditioning," who would listen? A statement like that is not impressive, it doesn't sound new or original; it furnishes no ground for starting experimental utopian communities, and leads to no international recognition or lucrative lecture tours. It sounds flat, obvious. Its sole virtue is that it is true, which the fine-sounding generalization is not,"


Spiral Dance



"Nothing is of greater importance than education. the teaching of one virtuous man can reach many, and that which has been learned by one generation can be passed on to a hundred,"

Jigoro Kano



"To live in the world without becoming aware of the meaning of the world is like wandering about in a great library without touching the books. It has always seemed to me that symbolism should be restored to the structure of world education. The young are no longer invited to seek the hidden truths, dynamic and eternal, locked within the shapes and behavior of living beings."

Manly P. Hall

The Secret Teachings of All the Ages



An educated man (according to Prof Woodrow Wilson) must know:

The general history of the world.

The history of human ideas

one science .

one language-preferably his own.

Woodrow Wilson



"Whether a man wants to be a philosopher or does not want to be a

philosopher, he has to be a philosopher."




"In 1927 my wife and I were living in Chicago, in a one-room apartment on Belmont Avenue . We were penniless. Five years earlier, our first daughter had died on her fourth birthday, having gone through, infantile paralysis, flu, spinal meningitis, and pneumonia. It was a long battle for life, and it was a terribly painful thing for us when she died.

About that time my father-in-law, an architect, had invented a new building material, I liked this man very much-and I thought his invention would be useful. I finally organized four small factories around the country making this material.

I worked terrible hard, but the minute I got through for the day I guess I was in a lot of pain because our child had died-I'd go off and drink all night. I had enough health, somehow, to carry on. But the company failed and some very prominent people had bet money on me.

So I was a disgrace and utterly broke, At that moment a new life, our daughter, Allegra, came to us. I appeared to myself, in retrospect, a horrendous mess. I found myself, asking…'Am I an utter failure? If so, I had better get myself out of the way, so at least my wife and baby can be taken care of by my family." At that time Lincoln Park, right on Lake Michigan, was one of my favorite places. I would run through the park at night, and I knew every inch of the lake edge. So I knew just where to go when I decided to throw myself into the lake, fully intending to commit suicide.

I stood by the side of the lake, hesitating. All my life, at home and in school, I had been admonished "Never mind what you think! listen!

We are trying to teach you!" But by that lakeside I was forced to do some thinking on my own. I asked myself what a little, penniless human being with a remaining life expectancy of those years-I was 32 and the life expectancy of those born, as I was, in 1898 was 42-could do for humanity that great corporations and great political states cannot do. Answering myself, I said: "The individual can take initiatives without anyone's permission." I told myself "You do not have the right to eliminate yourself, you do not belong to you. You belong to the Universe. The significance of you will remain obscure to you, but you may assume that you are fulfilling to the highest advantage of others,"So, I voted to keep myself alive, but only if I would never use me again just for me-each one of us is born of two, and we really belong to each other. I vowed to do my own thinking instead of trying to accommodate everyone else's opinions, credos, and theories. I vowed to apply my inventory of experiences to the solving of problems that affect everyone aboard planet earth,

I didn't want to waste a second, so I slept the way certain animals sleep: lying down as soon as I was tired, sleeping a half-hour every six hours. I also decided to hold a moratorium on speech. It was very tough on my wife, but for two years in that Chicago tenement; I didn't allow myself to use words. I wanted to force myself back to the point where I could understand what I was thinking.

I decided to forget about earning a living. It seemed to me that humans are honey-money bees, doing the right things for the wrong reasons, just as the bee inadvertently pollinates the flower.

Released from the idea of" earning a living", I was able to address problems in the biggest way. I decided to commit myself to the invention and development of physical artifacts to reform the environment.

I decided that a plurality of such artifacts had the potential to evoke humanity's most intelligent, interconsiderate qualities. It become obvious that if I worked always and only for all humanity, I would be optimally effective. I'd be doing what nature wanted me to do, and nature literally would support me.

Once I decided to do my own thinking, the first question I had to ask myself was, "Do you have any experiential evidence that forces you to assume a greater intellect operating in the universe?" My answer was swift and positive. Experience demonstrated an orderliness of inter-active, exception less principles. I was overwhelmed by this, and more convinced that my purpose was to abet the inclusion of human beings in the design of the universe. I'm absolutely convinced that everything that has happened to me since that time has been through my commitment to this greater integrity. Many times I 've chickened, and everything inevitably goes wrong, But then, when I return to my commitment, my life suddenly works again. There' something of the miraculous in that."

Buckminister Fuller



The motto of 340 year-old Harvard University is "Veritas" meaning progressively minimizing the magnitude of our veering to one side or the other of the star by which we steer, whose pathway to us is delicately reflected on the sea of life, and along whose twinkling stepping stone path we attempt to travel toward that which is God--toward truth so exquisite to be dimensionless, yet from moment to moment so reinformative as to guarantee the integrity of eternally regenerative Scenario Universe. Veritas - it will never be superseded.

Buckminster Fuller




"One sacred memory from childhood is perhaps the best education. "





"The indefatigable pursuit of an unattainable perfection, even though it consists of nothing more than the pounding of an old piano, is what alone gives a meaning to our life on this unavailing star."

Logan Pearsall Smith



"Questions are the creative acts of intelligence."

Frank Kingdom


"Being dumb is very American, very egalitarian…There must be some kind of correlation between the onset or the dumb culture and the death of liberalism…."

Rich Cohen

The Dawn of Dumb (New York Times op-ed page 3/11/95)




"We are able to perceive an object because it awakens an intuitive perception within us. "

Emanual Kant




"A man who cannot think is not an educated man however many college degrees he may have acquired. Thinking is the hardest work any one can do--which is probably the reason why we have so few thinkers.

Henry Ford



"A life that has achieved itself is a dream of adolescence realized in Maturity."




"I've studied all Philosophy,

Medicine, Jurisprudence too,

Also, to my grief, Theology,

with fervent efforts through and through;

Yet here I stand, poor fool! What' s more

Not one whit wiser than before! "




"A man should have any number of little aims about which he should be conscious and for which he should have names, but he ' should have neither name for, nor consciousness concerning the aim of his life."

Samuel Butler



"Those who run to apes to explain our behavior are chuckle-heads too dumb to know their arse from a hole in the ground. "

W. H. Auden



"Take heed lest any man deceive you by philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, and the rudiments of the world. "

ST. Paul

Colossians II, 8



"The best thing education can impart is the power to know a good man when you see him. "

William James



"The great and blessed property of true art has a mission which is both educational and prophetic."




"Of course, the main fact about education is that there is no such thing. "

G. K. Chesterton




"I do not believe in education. Your only model ought to be yourself, however frightful that model may be."




"For to me in all seriousness the happiest, most pleasurable element of what we call education, the shaping of the human being, is just this powerful influence of admiration and love, this childish identification with a father-image elected out of profound affinity."

Thomas Mann "



"--intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, where-as truly profound education breeds humility. "


Alexander Solzhenitsyn  

August 1914



"It is quite an error to suppose the absence of convictions gives the mind freedom and agility. A man who believes something is ready and witty, because he has all his weapons about him. "

G. K. Chesterton



"Man is probably nearer the essential truth in his superstitions than in his science. "




"The advantages of University life in America are obvious. The three greatest, as even the greenest of graduate students will tell you, are June, July, and August. But if you want to dance through long summer vacations in the Mediterranean breeze, dear careerists, you’ve got to pay the piper. It is my sad duty to report that the faculties of our major universities are dominated by a squadron of bureaucratic personalities so petty in their insistencies, so narrowly focused in their concerns, so utterly nervous about the wild discrepancies they perceive dividing their capacities from their paychecks, as to make any given faculty meeting on any given day at any given institution of higher learning appear to be a kind of collective hysterical breakdown.

Here is a group of people who take it as an article of faith that the world would be a better place if only they were allowed to run it and yet, at the same time, will not hesitate to acrimony, the double-cross, or even blackmail over office supply budgets. Life among such is the special cross borne by virtually all American intellectuals as well as by writers and artists of many stripes who are forced to search for affordable health insurance in the eerie education factories run by this stunning collection of high-I.Q. hicks, hacks, nerds, dweebs, blockheads, boors, and ultra-sensitive nincompoops. Worse than ancient Athens?

Probably. Better than the Gulag? Well, I guess. Worse or better than working at a television network, movie studio, recording company, or cable outfit? The answer to this last question contains more than a few clues to the fate of American culture."

David Marc

Bonfire of the Humanities



   "I was sent to boarding school on a scholarship at the age of ten. by the time I had finished eight years in New England prep schools and another eight at Colgate University and Harvard University. I had a pretty good understanding of the game. I have also taught at Columbia University, New York university, and Princeton University. These institutions feed students, no matter how mediocre, the conforting reassurance that they are there because they are not only the best but they are entitled to the best. You saw this attitude on display in every word uttered by George W. Bush. Here was a man with severely limited intellectual capacity and no moral core. bush, along with scooter Libby, who attended my pre-prep-school, exemplifies the legions of self-centered, spoiled, intellectually limited and wealthy elitists churned out by places like Andover, Yale, and Harvard. Bush was, like the rest of his caste, propelled forward by his money and his connections. The real purpose of these richly endowed schools is to perpetuate their own. They do this even as they pretend to embrace the ideology of the common man, trumpet diversity on campus, and pose as a meritocracy. The public commitment to egalitarianism alongside the private nurturing of elitism creates a bizarre schizophrenia."

Chris Hedges

Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle



"Men die, but the plutocracy is immortal; and it is necessary that fresh generations should be trained to its service."

-Sinclair Lewis


"To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge."

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881)



"Sit down before fact like a little child, and be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abyss Nature leads, or you shall learn nothing."

T.H. Huxley



"There are two kinds of people in this world, Jack. Those who live and learn and those who just live."

John A. Caple



"In view of the division of the activities of the human mind into different compartments which have been strictly maintained for centuries, I envisage a method whose aim would be -to reconcile contraries in a synthesis incorporating a rational understanding and a mystical experience of their unity. No other objective would be in harmony with the mythology, whether avowed or not , of our epoch. "

Wolfgang Pauli



"The criers of philosophy call all men to a comradeship of the spirit to a fraternity of thought to a convocation of Selves. Philosophy invites man out of the vainest of selfishness; out of the sorrow of ignorance and the despair of worldliness; out of the travesty of ambition and the cruel clutches of greed; out of the red hell of hate and the cold tomb of dead idealism,"

Manly P. Hall



"But it is not hard work which is dreary, it is superficial work. That is always boring in the long run, and it has always seemed strange to me that in our endless discussion about education so little stress is ever laid on the pleasure of becoming an educated person. The enormous interest it adds to life, To be able to be caught up in the world of thought-that is to be educated."

Edith Hamilton

Bryn Mawr School Bulletin 1959




"And so we discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being.':

Maria Montessori



"Those who remove our troubles, dispel our doubts, and bestow peace are the true teachers. They perform a Godlike work. 'their opposites (those who increase our doubts and difficulties) are harmful to us and should be avoided like poison."

Swami Sri Yakteswar



"It is nothing short of a miracle that instruction today has not strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry. For this delicate little plant lies mostly in need of freedom without which it will fall into rack and ruin and die without fail."



"I don't know who-or what-put the question, I don't know when it was put. I don't even remember answering. But at some moment I did answer "yes" to Someone or something. And from that hour I was certain that existence was meaningful and that, therefore, my life , in self-surrender, had a goal."

Dag Hammarskjold



"The great secret of education lies in exciting and directing the Will." 

M. Marcel



"Oxford is a noble university. It has a great past. it is at present the greatest university in the world; and it is quite possible that it has a great future. Oxford trains scholars of the real type better than any other place in the world, Its methods are antiquated. It despises science. it has professors who never teach and students who never learn. It has no order, no arrangement, no system. Its curriculum and yet-it gets there . Whether we like it or not, Oxford gives something to its students, a life and a mode of thought, which in America as yet we can emulate, but not equal."

Stephan Leacock



"Sainte-Beuve, as he grew older, came to regard all experience as a single great book, in which to study for a few years ere we go hence ; and it seemed all one to him whether you should read in chap- ter XX, which is the differential calculus, or in Chapter XXXIX, which is hearing the band play in the gardens. As a matter of fact, an intelligent person, looking out of his eyes and hearkening in his ears, with a smile on his face all the time, will get more true education than many another in a life of heroic vigils."

Robert Louis Stevenson



"The excellence of Oxford, then, as I see it, lies in the peculiar vagueness of the organization of its work. It starts from the assumption that the professor is a really learned man whose sole interest lies in his own sphere; and that a student, or at least the only student with whom the university cares to reckon seriously, is a young man who desires to know. This is an ancient medieval attitude long since buried in more up-to-date places under successive strata of compulsory education, state teaching, the democratization of knowledge, and the substitution of the shadow for the substance, and the casket for the gem. No doubt in newer places the thing has got to be so. Higher education in America flourishes chiefly as a qualification for entrance into a money-making profession, and not as a thing in itself. but in Oxford one can still see the surviving outline of a nobler type and structure and a higher inspiration."

Stephen Leacock



"American or Canadian college trustees would be horrified at the notion of professors who apparently do no work, give few or no lectures, and draw their pay merely for existing. Yet these are really the only kind of professors worth having; I mean men who can be trusted with a vague general mission in life, with a salary guaranteed and leaving to deal with a sphere of duties solely to their own conscience and the promptings of their own desires. Such men are rare, but a single one of them when found is worth ten executives" and a dozen " organizers."

Stephen Leacock



"The American professor has no time to be interested in a clever students. He has time to be interested in his "department", his letter writing, his executive work, and his organizing ability and his hope of promotion to a soap factory. But with that his mind is exhausted. The student of genius merely means to him a student who gives no trouble, who passes all his "tests" and is present at all his "recitations; such a student also, if he can be trained to be a hustler and an advertiser, will undoubtedly "make good." But beyond that the professor does not think of him. The everlasting principle of equality has inserted itself in a place where it has no right to be and where irregularity is tile breath of life."

Stephen Leacock



"In America A university professor is now a busy, hustling person, approximating as closely to a business man as he can manage to do. It is on the business man that he models himself. He has a little place that he calls his "office", with a typewriter machine and a stenographer. Here he sits and dictates letters, beginning after the best business models, "In re your of the eighth ttt, would say, etc.etc." he writes these letters to students, to his fellow professors, to the president, indeed to any people who will let him write to them. The number of letters that he writes each month is duly counted and set to his credit. If he writes enough he will get a reputation as an "executive" and big things may happen to him. He may even be asked to step out of the college and take a post as an "executive" in a soap company or an advertising Firm. The man, in short, is a "hustler,", an "advertiser" Whose highest aim is to be a "live wire." If he as not he will presently be dismissed, or to use the business term, be "let go," by a board of trustees Who are themselves hustlers and live wires. As to the professor's soul, he no longer needs to think of it, as it has been handed over, along with all the others, to a board of censors."

Stephen Leacock



"Perhaps, someday, solitude will come to be properly recognized and appreciated as the teacher of personality. The Orientals have long known this. The individual who has experienced solitude will not easily become a victim of mass suggestion."


(excerpt from a letter to Queen Elizabeth of Belgium-Aug 12,1939)





is finding out

what you already know.

Doing is demonstrating that you know it.

Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you.


Richard Bach





"I take joy in approaching these fresh springs,

In sipping them and plucking wild flowers,

To form a crown of fame for my own head,

From sources never tapped before to grace

The temples of the Muse, I take delight

In teaching serious things. . . .

Lucretius 65 B.C.



"What our contemporary age really needs is education. With that in view God picked a man who also needed education and raised him 'privatissime' so that he, in turn, could teach to others what he himself had learned."

Soren Kierkegaard



"There is an impossibility of insuring general intelligence through a system which does not use the body to teach the mind and the mind to teach the body. "

John Dewey



"There is no substitute for education, unless it is the American public school system."

Lawrence J. Peters




"If you teach a man anything, he will never learn. "

G.B. Shaw



"Always to be the best and to rise above others" is the central concern of Homer' s heroes (Illiad vi.2O8) , and Homer was "The educator of Hellas."

Hannah Arendt




"H.G. Wells has come to the most dreadful conclusion-the conclusion that the ordinary view is the right one. It is only the last and wildest kind of courage that can stand on a tower before ten thousand and tell them that twice two is four. "

G.K. Chesterton



"All over the world we are faced today with the same old disturbing questions. Why is it that our educational methods seems so far away from the realities of the human struggle? Why is it that our educational ideals do not quite seem to fit in with the actual problems a that engage men ' s minds? Whence the dreadful gap between our peaceful intentions and the warring conditions which actually prevail? Is the way of the books-or at least of the books alone-outdone and outdated? Is the ideal of literary education now inadequate? And , finally, what must we do to add to our tools of education if we are to do the job society expects of us?

John Grierson

Grierson on Documentary



"We find that we have given no definition of education, that in fact education does not appear to be definable. "

T.S. Eliot



"Here are the only questions worth consideration by any intelligent person.

Is physical immortality possible in our lifetime?

Does Superior Intelligence exist?

How can we attain these two goals?"

Tim Leary


Starseed Peace Press



"There is no teaching until the pupil is brought into the same state or principle in which you are. "




"While we teach knowledge, we are losing that teaching which is the most important one for human development: the teaching which can only be given by he simple presence of a mature, loving person. In previous epochs of our own culture, or in China and India, the man most highly valued was the person with out-standing spiritual qualities. Even the teacher was not only, or even primarily a source of information, but his function was to convey certain human attitudes. In contemporary capitalistic society....the men suggested for admiration and emulation are everything but bearers fo significant spiritual qualities. Those are essentially int eh public eye who give the average man a sense of vicarious satisfaction. Movie stars, radio entertainers, columnists, important business or government figures-these are the models for emulation....Yet, the situation does not seem to be altogether hopeless. If one considers the fact that a man like Albert Schweitzer could become famous in the United States, if one visualizes the many possibilities to make our youth familiar with living and historical personalities who show what human beings can achieve as human beings, and not as entertainers (in the broad sense of the word), if one thinks of the great works of literature and art of all ages, there seems to be a chance of creating a vision of good human functioning...."

-Erich Fromm



"For twelve years we confine the child's body to a limited territory, his energy to a limited activity, his senses to limited stimulation, his sociability to a limited number of peers, his mind to limited experience of the world around him."

   "What will he learn?" McInnis asked."

"To don't do his own thing."

-Marlyn Fergusson

The Aquarian Conspiracy


"The 'little red schoolhouse' of legend, whatever its flaws, made more sense than the warehouse-schools of today."

-Jonathan Zmmerman

Small Wonder



"What we learn in childhood is truth forever. What was true for me in childhood-Can never be interpreted to me in a new way."

Felix Chuyev (Soviet Poet)




"I suppose that what we call learning will be the recovery of our own knowledge . "




"Thomas A. Edison's first major adversity was experienced when his teacher sent him home after only three months in a graded school, with a note to his parents saying he did not have the capacity to take an education. He never went back to school-a conventional school, that is-but he began to school himself in the great University of Hard Knocks, where he gained an education which made him one of the greatest inventors of all times. Before he was graduated from that University he was fired from one job after another, while the hand of Destiny guided him through the "essential changes" which prepared him to become a great inventor. A formal schooling perhaps would have spoiled his chances of becoming great."

Napoleon Hill

You Can Work your Own Miracles




"Do the thing, and you shall have the Power."




"The real meaning Of the word "educate" is to lead the way out. "

Anais Nin



"Let us get a clear idea of what the primary business of education is. The child has to learn to control its instincts."

-Robert Waelder

The Living Thoughts of Freud



"I became really appalled at the teaching of the schools, at the set formulas and assumption of divine right, and I took it into my head, at that unsettled time, to appeal to my owl judgment. With my savings , I went on a journey through several countries, far from the schools, and earning my living in practical occupations,

I began to open my eyes . "

Le Corbusier



"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an envasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly, Specialization is for insects."

Robert A. Heinlein

The Notebooks of Lazurus Long


"To think erroneously regarding a subject of vital importance is to think erroneously in all domains of existence. "

Carlo Suares

The Cipher of Genesis



"It is easy enough to praise men for the courage of their convictions. I wish I could teach the sad young of this mealy generation the courage of their confusions. . .May it not be said that we have made too much of conviction as the ultimate goal? Show me a man who is not confused and I will show you a man who has not asked enough questions. . . It takes courage to engage confusion deeply. . . It is at least a ponder able proposition that the courage to engage it is a better, because a more humane, act of mind than is that order of conviction that can survive only by refusing to consider seriously those questions an inquiring mind must find unavoidable. "

John Ciardi

"Manner of Speaking"

Saturday Review

' June 2,1962


"All the things I ever learned in school I've never been able to put to use, and all the things I learned that have done me some good I had to learn from books that I had to smuggle into school."

Freddie Fisher

(the philosopher of Aspen, Colo)



   "Self-education is usually thought of in terms of an alternative to traditional education. but self-education is a process in which we are all participants. it more accurately describes the method we used when we learned to speak and understand spoken language. In similar fashion, we self-educate ourselves throughout our lives, often learning life's most valuable lessons in a manner peculiar to our own aptitude. Regardless of what level of formal education we've achieved, self-education becomes our post-graduate means of navigating our way through life. By comparison, even for those with advanced degrees, classroom experience is short-lived. Self-education is something we do without realizing that that is indeed what we are doing. it's like breathing: we don't need to think about it in order to do it."

-Charles Hayes

September University


"in the eighteenth century the idea of liberal education was bound intimately to that of self-education, both in the general sense that a liberal education included the acquisition of the qualities of character, for example, the habit of placing civic duty above self-interest, and also in the sense that a liberally educated person possessed a knowledge of many subjects-history, the law of nations, modern polemics, and modern poetry-that rarely formed part of the collegiate curriculum.

   How did we get so far off track with our expectations about self-education that one of America's leading twentieth-century scientists would find intriguing what in an earlier century simply would have been taken for granted? In the eighteenth century it was still possible to be offered a professorship at a college without ever having attended one. Knowledge and experience were taken at face value. One either had the knowledge or did not. How one obtained the expertise did not matter. Today a lack of formal education too often takes on the guise of a particular kind of learned helplessness. many people are boisterous about their political views, but down deep most of them are afraid to take seriously their own views about any number of subjects simply because they have not been officially recognized as being knowledgeable. On the other hand, at the highest graduate level, Ph.D.'s often can't reach agreement about any matter above a kindergarten level of sophistication."

-Charles Hayes

September University




"Never seem more learned than the people you are with. Wear your learning like pocket-watch and keep it hidden. Do not pull it out to count the hours, but give the time when you are asked."

Lord Chesterfield (letter to his son)



"Nowhere is education so lavishly financed and equipped as in the United States; nowhere is it so little honored or so little used. We have devoted ourselves magnanimously to the provision, on an unprecedented scale, of schools, high schools, colleges, and universities; and now that they are all built and full, we have made education a disqualification for public office."

Will Durant




"Education divorces the human being from reality. . .I learned that the human bodily system is inseparably linked with the energy and rhythm of the cosmos. . . .

George Hackenschmidt




"Do you know why Einstein said the most original and profound things about space and time that have been said in our generation? Because he had learned nothing about all the philosophy of time and space . "

Professor David Hilbert

Uof Gottingen

(One of the great mathematicians of Einstein's era)



"I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor.,. one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours."





"Where do we come from? Who are we? Where are we going?

Paul Gauguin 1897



"The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping the old ones, which ramify for those brought up as most of us have been, into every corner of our minds."

John Maynard Keynes



"You plot the growth of the NEA and the dropping of SAT scores, and they’re inversely proportional."

Steve Jobs



"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit."



"I know from experience that the marriage of mind and body makes the sum more powerful than the individual parts."

George Foreman


"I used to think technology could help education. Now my inevitable conclusion is that no amount of technology will make a dent."

Steve Jobs


"Those of us who can best endure the good and evil of life have the best education."



"If the question is universally what considerable advantage the city derives from the education of the educated, the answer is easy. Education is the way to produce good men, and, once produced, such men will live nobly."



"The most useful piece of learning for the uses of life is to unlearn what is untrue."

Antishenes (445 b.c.)_



"Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of the vigorous mind."

Rudyard Kipling



"To live in the world without becoming aware of the meaning of the world is like wandering about in a great library without touching the books. It has always seemed to me that symbolism should be restored to the structure of world education. The young are no longer invited to seek the hidden truths, dynamic and eternal , locked within the shapes and behavior of living beings."

Manly P. Hall


"Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition."

Jacques Barzun



"A well cultivated mind is made up of all the minds of preceding ages; it is only the one single mind educated by all previous time."



"The transfer of knowledge to others is also creative work. It saves those who do it from destruction; they endure and live in the realizations and intellectual ferment of those who are coming."

Milovan Djilas


"An extraterrestrial being, newly arrived on Earth-scrutinizing what we mainly present to our children in television, radio, movies, newspapers, magazines, the comics, and many books-might easily conclude that we are intent on teaching them murder, rape, cruelty, superstition, credulity, and consumerism. We keep at it and through constant repetition many of them finally get it. What kind of society could we create if, instead, we drummed into them science and a sense of hope?"

Carl Sagan

The Demon Haunted World


"Did they simply fail to notice that the principal intellectual instrument available to human beings is not examined in school."

Neil Postman

The End of Education




"The art of clarification, like the art of negotiation, is often simply the art of displacing difficulties. There is, one might say, a find of untouchable reserve of incomprehensibility in certain things that the calculations of human intelligence are capable neither of removing nor of diminishing but only of arranging this way or that, sometimes leaving everything in a half-light, at another time illuminating certain points at the expense of others, which are then submerged by a darkness even deeper than before."

Antoine Cournot


"Education: To prepare us for complete living is the function which education has to discharge."

H. Spencer



"It is difficult to be muddle-headed.

It is difficult to be clever, but

More difficult to graduate from

Cleverness to muddle-headedness."

Chen Pauch’ iao (13th century)



"Education in the West has become a handmaiden of corporate production, of a bourgeois society, of a society bent on acquisition. Western education imprisons the affluent in a psychology of acquisitiveness and exclusivity of moral vision, and at the same time perpetuates the dominance of the affluent over the poor."

Bishop Flores



"So, as you can see, the structure of knowledge in our modern universities and the organization of knowledge in our society relate directly to the structure of dominance and control in our civilization. The curriculum of a university, the way knowledge is organized, is a direct expression of the cultures world view. A university should literally be a 'universe city', but most modern universities are bureaucratic structures which can only relate to the universe as it is experienced through their own bureaucratic procedures. The catalogue of courses for a university is nothing but a Sears and Roebuck catalogue for educational consumers. The curriculum has no internal structure and it does not relate to larger principles of cosmic order. It breaks up experience into routine of specialization, turns knowledge into a commodity and then sells it to undergraduates interested in prestige and power. So the first step in breaking away from the colonization of the mind is to walk out of the university to take a good look at the stars. But one must not only walk out of the air-conditioned fluorescent lit and acoustically tiled container of the mind, one must also walk out of the structures of knowledge as they are organized in the mind of the professor. One must re-vision knowledge, and to do that the professor himself must go to school; not to Harvard, but the schools of Patanjali,Nararjuna, Milarepa, Suhrawardi, Rumi, Doyen,Blake. One has to walk out of the University of the ego to attune to the archetypal, causal plane of the daimon. After a mystical period of several years or so in the training of these esoteric schools of thought, then one needs to return to his own culture to take up the problem of the organization of knowledge in a civilization."

William Irvin Thompson

From Nation to Emanation



"To educate does not mean to give a record of technical information. Education, the forming of world consciousness, is attained by synthesis, not by the synthesis of misfortunes, but by the synthesis of perfection and creativeness. The true knowledge is attained by inner accumulations, by Aaons; for the approaches to the One Knowledge are manifold....the evolution of the New Era rests on the cornerstone of knowledge and beauty."

Nicholas Roerich


"Man is said to be the greatest representative of God, he is the book of Creation because all the mysteries of being exist in him." If he comes under the shadow of the True Educator and is rightly trained, he becomes the essence of essences, the light of lights, the spirit of spirits; he becomes the center of the divine appearances, the source of spiritual qualities, the rising place of heavenly lights and the receptacle of divine inspirations. If he is deprived of this manifestation of satanic qualities, the sum of animal vices, and the source of all Cruel conditions."



"When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge,"




"So-called 'secular education' is not secular at all for it does not prepare us to live in the world (saeculum means world) of the cosmos and the universe. It does not prepare us to be either good cosmic citizens or good global citizens. Rather, it prepares us for a man-made artificial world of ladder-climbing, competition, and specialization, nationalism, part-thinking and part-acting,-in short for control instead of for celebration. Secular education has become a contradiction in terms. It perpetuates violence."

Matt Fox



"Knowledge is not the conformity of the mind to the given, but an immersion in the process of transformation and construction of a new world. "

Gustavo Gutkerrez


"What office is there which involves more responsibility, which requires more qualifications, and which ought, therefore, to be more honorable, than that of teaching?"

-Harriet Martineau


"The only thing to teach is how to fall in love, what to do then to make it last. To make it a lifetime thing. To teach how to find out more about the beloved. To build something with the beloved, within the beloved,"

Anne Herbert



"There is no real teacher who in practice does not believe in the existence of the soul, or in a magic that acts on it through speech."

-Allan Bloom




"When will we teach our children in school what they are? We  should say to each of them. Do you know what your are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all of the world there is no other child exactly like you. In the millions of years that have passed there has never been another child like you. And look at your body-what a wonder it is! your legs, your arms, your cunning fingers, the way you move, You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you harm another who is, like you, a marvel?"

Pablo Casals


"Arrogance, pedantry, and dogmatism-the occupational diseases of those who spend their lives directing the intellects of the young."

-Henry Canby




"There is a myth that the purpose of education is that of giving you the means for upward mobility and success. Thomas Merton once identified this as the 'mass production of people literally unfit for anything except to take part in an elaborate and completely artificial charade."

David Orr


(Advice to student from "Mephistopheles" in Goethe's Faust)



Your time-so fast the minutes drain it;

Yet Method teaches how to gain it,

And so one word, friend, in your ear:

Begin by studying Logic here.

That breaks the spirit nicely in,

A hair shirt fitting like a skin,

So that it creeps, with prudence fraught,

Along the arterial roads of thought

And does not zigzag through the mire

A will o' the wisp, a fatuous fire.

Then many a day you needs must learn

That what you lately could discern

Bang off, like swallowing meat or drink,

You now need syllogisms to think.

It's true: the fantasy of thought

Is like a master loom so wrought

One treadle moves a world of thread;

The shuttles forward, backward, going,

The threads unseen keep flowing, flowing;

Press once-a thousand such are wed.

Thus your philosopher, you know,

Steps in to prove it must be so:

The first was so, the second too,

Therefore the third and fourth are true,

But if the first and second were missed-

Third and fourth would not exist.

Students throughout the world believe it

But, given this weft, they cannot weave it.

To know and describe a living thing, endeavor

First to expel its spirit for ever;

Then hold the parts and count the cost-

The spiritual link is lost, is lost.

Chemistry gives this a long Latin name

But unconsciously fools herself all the same.

STUDENT: "This is slightly past my understanding."

MEPHISTOPHELES: "Quite soon you'll find your mind's expanding;

Once you have learned that all is reducible

To labels in a semantic crucible.


(From Goethe' s Faust)




"Somebody says: "Of no school I am part, Never to living master lost my heart; Nor any more can I be said To have learned anything from the dead." That statement-subject to appeal-Means: "I'm a self-made imbecile."



"We look to institutions of education to maintain a knowledge and understanding of the past. And the past has to be reinterpreted for each generation, for each generation brings its own prejudices and fresh understandings. All this may be comprehended in the term history; but history includes the study of the great dead languages and of the past of modern languages, including our own. Particularly, indeed, our own; for we need to understand the way in which our words have bemused in the past, how they have developed and altered their meanings, in order to understand how we are using them our-selves. And to preserve the wisdom of the past, we need to value it for its own sake, not simply to defend it on the ground of its usefulness."

T. S. Eliot

To Criticize the Critic .

Farrar, Straus & Giroux NY




"The phrase' training of the mind' has to me a very indefinite meaning. I would like a profound scholar to indicate to me what he understands by the training of the mind; in a literary sense, including mathematics. What is their effect on the mind? Or what does the mind learn by that training? It learns things, I have no doubt. By the very act of study it learns to be attentive, to be persevering, to be logical. But does it learn that training of the mind which enables a man to give a reason in natural things for an effect which happens from certain causes? Or why in any emergency or event he does (or should do) this, that, or the other? It does not suggest the least thing in these matters. It is the highly educated man that we find coming to us again and again, and asking the most simple questions in chemistry or mechanics; and when we speak of such things as the conservation of force, the permanency of matter, and the unchangeability of the laws of nature, they are far from comprehending them, though they have relation to us in every action of our lives. Many of these instructed persons are as far from having the power of judging these things as if their minds had never been trained."

Michael Faraday   (1855)



"They want to set up a School , they want to teach , while entirely rejecting tradition, as though teaching and tradition were not synonymous ! They exercise their minds about originality, as though originality could be handed on! Originality cannot be taught, but a School offers it an opportunity to develop by giving body and fore to the propensities of the mind. . .You speak of freedom, of freedom of instruction. I tell you there is an age at which to learn and an age at which to judge, to choose . Only at that age can there be any question of freedom, the freedom which causes you so much reflection. I maintain that in an Art School, as in any other, it is the duty of the government to teach only truths which are unquestioned, or which are at least supported by the finest examples and accepted from century to century. Once they leave the School, the pupils will shape these noble traditions into the truth of their own day, of that you may be confident; a genuine truth, for it will be the product of true freedom, whereas to teach the pros and cons, in the same place and, so to speak, out of the same mouths , can only produce doubt and discouragement. . . No , it is not doubt that teaches, it is affirmation,' and that is why I could not want to take part in a kind of teaching which is without principles and without faith. Since I am fortunate enough to believe , I do not want to say : ' Here is something that may be beautiful' , but I want to say: 'here is something that is beautiful' , without a Council, higher or no, to come blowing now hot, now cold and destroying work. . .The first and best method of teaching, to my mind, is to promote respect and reverence for beautiful things, proclaiming them as the most beautiful by the position in which we set them, the care we devote to them. In short, say in every way possible: 'This is what one must love, honour, admire' ."


Hippolyte Flandrin (1809-1864)

(extract from a letter)

Letters of the Great Artists

' Richard Friedenthal




Twenty years of schoolin'

And they put you on the day shift -

Look out kid, it ' s somethin you did

Better jumps down a manhole

Light yourself a candle, don't wear sandals

Try to avoid the scandals

Don ' t wanna be a bum

You better chew gum

The pump don' t work

'cause the vandals took the handles. "

-Bob Dylan

Bringing It All Back Home



'But my philosophy about what education should be is best expressed right in McDonald's own Hamburger U. and Hamburger High. Career education, That' s what this country needs. "

Ray Kroc

Grinding it Out  The Making of McDonalds



"Sorrow is knowledge; they who know the most must mourn the deepest o'er the fatal truth, the Tree of Knowledge is not that of Life."



"It is not true that knowledge is sorrow. But poisonous errors bring unlimited sorrow in the third and fourth generation. "

E. F. Schumacher

Small is Beautiful



"Education cannot help us as long as it accords no place to metaphysics. Whether the subjects taught are subjects of science or of the humanities, if the teaching does not lead to a clarification of metaphysics, that is to say, of our fundamental convictions , it cannot educate a man and, consequently, cannot be of real value to society."

E. F. Schumacher



"We hear so much these days about knowledge bringing power, security, financial success, and so on, that we overlook the fact that the very word which refers to the acquiring of knowledge," apprehend," is also the word which means dread, "apprehension." Looking in Webster's we find the definitions of apprehend, "to perceive, to recognize the meaning of, lay hold of with understanding;" and the very next meaning is to "to anticipate with anxiety, dread or fear." And the same with "apprehension" the first meaning, "a grasping of the mind," is followed by the second, "a distrust or fear of future evil."

Rollo May

Love &Will


"Ask enough questions and you will begin to wonder why you haven't been doing it all along. Let me emphasize again that it doesn't matter what path you take to reinvigorate your curiosity. Even faking an interest in a subject will eventually result in a real interest, if the fakery is of your own volition and you follow through."

-Charles Hayes

September University



"The great thing, then, in all education, is to make our nervous system our ally instead of our enemy. It is to fund and capitalize our acquisitions, .and live at ease upon the interest of the fund. ,For this we must make automatic and habitual, as early as possible, as many useful actions as we can, and guard against the growing into ways that are likely to be disadvantageous to us, as we should guard against the plague. The more of the details of our daily life we can hand over to the effortless custody of automatism the more our powers of mind will be set free for their own proper work. There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision, and for whom the lighting of every cigar, the drinking of every cup, the time of rising and going to bed every day, and the beginning of every bit of work, are subjects of express volitional deliberation. Full half the time of such a man goes to the deciding, or regretting, of matters which ought to be so ingrained in him as begin this very hour to set the matter right,"

William James



"Between professors and independent men of learning there has always been from old a certain antagonism, which may perhaps be likened to that existing between dogs and wolves. In virtue of their position, professors enjoy great facilities for becoming known to their contemporaries. Contrarily, independent men of learning enjoy, by their position, great facilities for becoming known to posterity; to which it is necessary that, among other and much rarer gifts, a man should have a certain leisure and freedom. As mankind takes a long time in finding out on whom to bestow its attention, they may both work together side by side. He who holds a professorship may be said to receive his food in the stall and this is the best way with ruminant animals. But he who finds his food for himself at the hands of nature is better off in the open field."





"Minds of the first order will never be specialists."




"A man' s intellectual as well as his moral qualities proceed from the depths of his own nature, and are not the result of external influences; and no educational scheme-of Pastalozzi, or of anyone else-can turn a born simpleton into a man of sense. The thing is impossible! He was born a simpleton, and a simpleton he will die."





"For true culture in the humanities it is absolutely necessary that a man should be many-sided and take large views; and for a man of learning in the higher sense of the word, an extensive acquaintance with history is needful. He, however, who wishes to be a complete philosopher, must gather into his head the remotest ends of human knowledge: for where else could they ever come together?"




"A ship, like a human being, moves best when it is slightly athwart the wind, when it has to keep its sails tight and attend its course. Ships, like men, do poorly when the wind is directly behind, pushing them sloppily on their way so that no care is required in steering or in the management of sails; the wind seems favorable, for it blows in the direction one is heading, but actually, it is destructive, because it induces a relaxation in tension and skill. What is needed is a wind slightly opposed to the ship, for then tension can be maintained, and juices can flow and ideas can germinate; for ships, like men, respond to challenge."


James A. Michener


Random House




"What all of us know put together don't mean anything. Nothing don't mean anything. We are just here for a spell and pass on. Any man that thinks Civilization has advanced is an egotist. Fords and bathtubs have moved you and cleaned you, but you was just as ignorant when you got there. "

Will Rogers



"I never could understand why a man wanted to spend all his

life going to school, ide get to thinking about the Rancho.

Grandy, and get rambling on my mind, freedom to quote 0. M.


To what avail the plow or sail or land or

life if freedom fail. . . . .


(excerpt from a letter written by Larry McMurtrys

uncle Jeff Dobbs)



"What do I Miss , as a human being, if I have never heard of the Second Law of Thermodynamics? The answer is: Nothing. And what do I miss by not knowing Shakespeare? unless I get my understanding from another source, I simply miss my life. other-here a bit of knowledge of physics, and there a bit of knowledge of literature? If we do so, the sins of the fathers will be visited upon the children unto the third and fourth generation, because that normally is the time it takes from the birth of an idea to its full maturity when it fills the minds of a new generation and makes them think by it. "


E. F. Schumacher

Small is Beautiful




"It is said that since the invention of the steam engine we live in a new era, an era so different from all preceding ages that the cultural tradition is no longer relevant, is in fact misleading. I submit to you that this is a rationalization, that this is a pretended reason for the educational void which we now call education. The real reason, I venture to suggest, is that we reject the religious and classical heritage, first, because to master it requires more effort than we are willing to compel ourselves to make, and second, because it creates issues that are too deep and too contentious to be faced with equanimity. We have abolished the old curriculum because we are afraid of it, afraid to face any longer in a modern democratic society the severe discipline and the deep, disconcerting issues of the nature of the universe, and of man's place in it and of his destiny."

-Walter Lippmann, "Education vs. Western Civilization," Spring 1941




"Traveling, riding, flying,

I'm forever on the run.

Clever books I'm always reading

but never cleverer become . . . . . "

Yevgeny Yevtushenko



- "Perhaps the most valuable result Of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done , whether you like it or not.

Thomas Huxley




"The entire object of true education is to make people not merely do the right thing, but enjoy the right things; not merely industrious, but to love industry; not merely learned but to love knowledge; not merely pure, but to love purity; not merely just, but to hunger and thirst after justice."




is finding out

what you already know.

Doing is demonstrating that

you know it .

Teaching is reminding others

That they know just as well as you."


Richard Bach




"The strongest meshes of the school net are invisible. Constant bidding for a stranger's attention creates a chemistry producing the common characteristics of modern schoolchildren: whining, dishonest, malice, treachery, cruelty. Unceasing competition for official favor in the dramatic fish bowl of a classroom delivers cowardly children, little people sunk in chronic boredom, little people with no apparent for being alive."

-John Taylor Gatto


"Education can help us only if it produces 'whole men' . The truly educated man is not a man who knows a bit of everything, not even a one who knows all the details of all subjects . (if such a thing were possible) ; the 'whole man' , is in fact, may have little detailed knowledge of facts and theories, he may treasure the Encyclopedia Britannica because she knows and he needn' t , ' but he will be truly in touch with the center . He will not be in doubt about his basic convictions, about his view on the meaning and purpose of his life. He may not be able to explain these matters in words, but the conduct of his life will show a certain sureness of touch which stems from his inner clarity. "

E. F. Schumacher





"I have regretted all my life that I did not at least take a chance on the fifth grade . It would certainly come in handy right now, and I never go through a day that I am not sorry for the idea I had of how to go to school and not learn anything. "

Will Rogers





"A man only learns by two things, one is reading and the other is association with smarter people."

Will Rogers



"For there is nothing as stupid as an educated man if you get off the thing that he was educated in."

Will Rogers




"Besides, you see, I'm a public-school man. That means everything. There's a blessed equity in the English social system," said Grimes, "that insures the public-school man against starvation. One goes through four or five years of perfect hell at an age when life is bound to be hell anyway, and after that the social system never lets one down."

Evelyn Waugh

The Decline and Fall




"I used to say that I had been taught only two things in my childhood : The modern languages and good manners. Now that I have lived to see. both those branches of culture dispersed with, I perceive that there are worse systems of education."


Edith Wharton

A Backward Glance



"The experiments of the alchemists had the sole purpose of stimulating the deepest layers of the psyche and of facilitating psychic projections in material things, or in other words, of experiencing material things, or in other words, of experiencing material phenomena as symbols which point to a complete theory of the universe and the destiny of the soul."

Carl Jung



"In other words the 'tactile apprehension of certain inventions of technical gadgetry' could activate 'psychic alarm clocks' that could effect the 'unfolding flowers' of the cortexial garden. . . "


Bucky Fuller's commenting on Dr. Benjamin Bloom's theory



"Contemporary science knows that suppression of information leads to entropy and universal destruction. "


Alexander Solzhenitsyn

(Nobel Lecture)



"There are two kinds of people in the world: the conscious dogmatists and the unconscious dogmatists. I have always found myself that the unconscious dogmatists were by far the most dogmatic. "




"The only images capable of conveying a lofty idea are those which create in one' s consciousness a state of surprise and  insecurity calculated to raise this consciousness to the level of the idea in question, where it can be grasped in all its freshness and strength. Magic rites and genuine poetry serve no other purpose. "

Charles S. Pierce


"Surprise is your only teacher. "

Charles S. Pierce


"If there is such a thing in the world as a donkey deliberately wearing blinders, it is the enlightened educationalist who is always making a nervous effort to keep out of his task of imparting knowledge any reference to the things that men from the beginning of the world have most wanted to know. "


G.K. Chesterton



"The greatest aims suffer continuing distraction. Flesh and blood insist on abandoning the mission. Listen to them not-God, once resolved, does not change his mind whatever the occasional seeming to the contrary. "

Vincent de Paul



EQUIPMENT by Edgar A. Guest

Figure it out for yourself my lad,

You have all the greatest have had,

Two arms, two legs, two hands, two eyes ,

And a brain to use if you'd be wise.

With this equipment they all began,

So start for the top and say, "I can. "

Look them over, the wise and great,

They take their food from a common plate,

And similar knives and forks they use,

With similar laces they tie their shoes,

The world considers them brave and smart,

But you have all they had when they made their start.

You can triumph and come to skill

You can be great if you only will.

You're well equipped for the fight you choose,

You have arms and legs and a brain to use ,

And men who have risen great deed to do

Began their life with no more than you. -

You are the handicap you must face,

You are the one who must choose your place ,

You must say where you want to go,

How much you ' 11 study the truth to know.

God has equipped you for life, but He

Lets you decide what you want to be.

The courage must come from the soul within,

The man must furnish the will to win.

So figure it out for yourself, my lad.

You were born with all the great have had "

With your equipment they all began

So get hold of yourself, and say: "I can."


from a book called The Principles of Horseshoeing by Doug Butler c 19 74



"We know that you highly esteem the kind of learning taught in these Colleges and that the Maintenance of our young Men, while with you, would be very expensive to you. We are convinced that you mean to do us Good by your Proposal and we thank you heartily. But you who are wise must know that different Nations have different conceptions of things; and you will therefore not take it amiss, if our ideas of this kind of Education happen not to be the same with yours. We have had some experience of it. Several of our young people were formerly brought up at the Colleges of the Northern Provinces. They were instructed in all your Sciences but, when they came back to us, they were bad Runners , ignorant of every means of living in the woods, neither fit for Hunters, Warriors, nor Counselors, they were totally good for nothing. We are, however , not the less obliged by your kind offer though we decline accepting it; and, to show our grateful Sense of it; if the Gentlemen of Virginia will send us a Dozen of their Sons, we will take Care of their Education, instruct them in all we know and make Men of them. "

(Reply of several Indian tribes when they were invited to

send their boys to William and Mary College after negotiating a treaty at Lancaster, Pa. on June 17,1744)




"Has it ever struck you as odd, or unfortunate, that today, when the proportion of literacy is higher than it has ever been, people should have become susceptible to the influence of advertisement and mass propaganda to an extent hitherto unheard of an imagined?.......Have you ever, in listening to a debate among adult and presumably responsible people, been fretted by the extraordinary inability of the average debater to speak to the question, or to meet and refute the arguments of speakers on the other side?....And when you think of this, and think that most of our public affairs are settled by debates and committees, have you ever felt a certain sinking of the heart?.....Is not the great defect of our education today-a defect traceable through all the disquieting symptoms of trouble that I have mentioned-that although we often succeed in teaching our pupils "subjects," we fail lamentably on the whole in teaching them how to think: they learn everything, except the art of learning?"

-Dorothy L. Sayers  (Speech at Oxford)


"Education is that process by which thought is opened out of the soul, and, associated with outward....things, is reflected back upon itself, and thus made conscious of its reality and shape. it is Self-Realization.....He who is seeking to know himself, should be ever seeking himself in external things, and by so doing will he be best able to find, and explore his inmost light."

-Bronson Alcott  The Journals of Bronson Alcott


"Forget about likes or dislikes

They are of no consequence

Just do what must be done.

This may not be happiness,

but it is greatness."

G.B. Shaw



"Give twice as much consideration to your enemy's argument as to your friend's."

(Supposedly Joseph Kennedy Sr's advice to his sons)




   "the third obstruction is that, for far too many people an uninspiring experience with traditional education stifles the desire to learn (even for many of the people we assume to be well educated), resulting in intellectual disaster. Literacy should be a foregone conclusion in America, but it's by no means something that can be taken for granted. Every year more books are published than one person can possibly read, while more of the people who do read books are reading less. Further, the need for media literacy is ever more critical for navigating daily life, but too many of our number are accustomed to being spoon-fed information rather than thinking for themselves."

-Charles Hayes

September University.


"The man who has no tincture of philosophy goes through life imprisoned in ;the prejudices derived from commonsense, the world tends to become definite, finite, obvious, common objects rouse no questions, and unfamiliar possibilities are contemptuously rejected."

Bertrand Russell



"The world is full of people that have stopped listening to themselves or have listened only to their neighbors to learn what they ought to do, how they ought to behave, and what the values are that they should be living for."

Joseph Campbell




"Human beings ought to communicate and share all the gifts they have received from God."

Meister Eckhart



"Without ideals, without effort, without scholarship, without philosophical continuity, there is no such thing as education."

Abraham Flexner


"Finally, education alone can conduct us to that enjoyment which is, at once, best in quality and infinite in quantity."

Horace Mann


"Schools ain’t as good as they usta be and they never was."

Will Rogers


"Academia – a powerful orthodoxy…academic credentialism, a religion whose central doctrine states that no analysis of a subject of consequence can be taken seriously unless the writer had professional credentials."



"Diploma factories churn out reductionist specialists who divide total systems into pieces. Hired by Global-Tech corporations and nation-states, they engage in dividing up and devastating Biosphere I under a perverted jihad called "development." it rolls over humans everywhere. Its techniques feature good rhetoric and bad faith. They produce dangerous chemicals, automobiles, superhighways, processed foods, devastated forests, poisoned waters, toxic air, anthrax, dirty bombs, invasion of personal lives, and so on, ad infinitum. Ethics and aesthetics are a drag to those generating super-profits and "prestige" by inventing new scourges. "Accredited' replaces ethical, "respectable" replaces aesthetics. Humans pay the price in sickness and in anomie, loss of meaning."

-John Allen

Me and The Biospheres: A Memoir by the Inventor of Biosphere 2


   "Public primary and secondary education in the US fails to achieve in 12 years what Soviet schools generally achieved in 8. I am sure that this failure can be attributed to many factors: a diet of sugar-water and junk food, many hours of mind-destroying television and video games, the sensory deprivation of the suburban environment and car society, the atomized nature of American society, the underpaid schoolteachers, the nonsense of standardized testing as so forth. Those with plenty of spare time should feel free to ponder such factors, but a much simpler explanation should suffice: American schools fail to educate because that is not their function. Their function is to institutionalize children at an early age. In due course, they will go on to other institutions: jails, psychiatric hospitals, the military, or, for those who learn obedience while retaining some semblance of sanity, colleges and universities. There is a reason why jails, hospitals and schools are often architecturally indistinguishable they are but different parts of the same system, representing different phases of the institutionalization life cycle."

-Dmitry Orlov

Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects



   "The higher education system in the United States is good at many things-government and industrial research, team sports, vocational training. But American colleges and universities often fail to achieve in four years what Soviet secondary schools achieved in two (9th and 10th) grades). That is, they fail to produce graduates who have adequate general knowledge, good command of their native language and the ability to acquire specialized knowledge without any further institutional assistance. I am sure that this failure can be attributed to many factors: the star system of professorship , where politically connected faculty members teach seminars on how and why they are glorious, while most of the actual teaching is left up to adjuncts, associate professors, post-docs, teaching fellows and other academic rabble; the dead weight of so-called chips of the old block-children of alumni; the refusal of talented Americans to teach, leaving the field open to foreigners who couldn't get in at  home, and so forth. Those with plenty of spare time should feel to ponder such factors, but, again a much simpler explanation should suffice: the goal of the American higher educations system is not to educate."

-Dmitry Orlov

Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects



"…How much better, I say, is it for the active and thoughtful intellect, where such is to be found, to eschew the College and university altogether, than to submit to a drudgery so ignoble, a mockery so contumetious! How much more profitable for the independent mind, after the mere rudiments of education, to range through a library at random, taking down books as they meet him, and pursuing the trains of thought which his mother wit suggests."

John Henry Cardinal Newman

The Idea of a University




"I hold that there is every variety to natural capacity, from the idiot to Newton and Shakespeare; the mass of mankind, midway between these extremes, being blockheads of different degrees: education leaving them pretty nearly as it found them, with this single difference, that it gives a fixed direction to their stupidity, a sort of incurable wry-neck to the thing they call understanding. So one nose points east, another always west, and each is ready to swear that it points due north."

Thomas Love Peacock



"Education: The path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty."

Mark Twain



"Education: A succession of eye-openers each involving the repudiation of some previously held belief."

George Bernard Shaw




"How is it that little children are so intelligent and men are so stupid? It must be education that does it"

Alexandre Dumas, fils




"A university is what a college becomes when the faculty loses interest in students."

John Ciardi



"Education: What remains after you have forgotten all that you have been taught."

Lord Halifax



"He who refuses to learn deserves extinction."




"From the start of my grandfather's association with the Muslim University of Aligarh he insisted that it should 'preach the gospel of free inquiry, of large-hearted toleration and of pure morality."

-Agha Khan III



"Education is the process of driving a set of prejudices down your throat."

Martin H. Fischer


"Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught."

Oscar Wilde




"You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him to find it within himself."





"A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron."

Horace Mann




"The true University of these days is a Collection of Books."


Heroes and Hero Worship



"Colleges are places where pebbles are polished and diamonds are dimmed."

Robert G. Ingersoll (1884)



"There is no education like adversity."

-Benjamin Disraeli


"Advise and counsel him; if he does not listen, let adversity teach him."

-Japanese proverb



"That man, I think, has had a liberal education who has been so trained in youth that his body s the ready servant of his will."

T.H. Huxley

A Liberal Education (1868)


"School days, I believe, are the unhappiest in the whole span of human existence. They are full of dull, unintelligible tasks, new and unpleasant ordinances, brutal violations of common sense and common decency."

H.L. Mencken

(Baltimore Evening Sun Oct 8, 1928)


"Every college student should be able to answer the following question: What is the relation between science and the humanities, and how is it important for human welfare.?"

-Edward O. Wilson



"There's a lot wrong with our schools, but the general decline in order is the most unappreciated. Every day, in schools across America, students wander around the classroom or confront teachers with an in-your-face attitude. The disrespect is shocking. The losers are not mainly the teachers, however, but all the other students. Disruptive behavior by one student diverts all attention, Learning is crippled."

-Phillip K. Howard "Class War," Wall Street journal, may 24, 2005




"No one can ‘get’ an education, for of necessity education is a continuing process."

Louis L’Amour

Education of a Wandering Man



"A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years mere study of books."


Hyperion (1839)



"The aim of the college, for the individual student is to eliminate the need in his life for the college; the task is to help him become a self-educating man."

C. Wright Mills

Mass Society and Liberal Education (1963)




"To be master of any branch of knowledge, you must master those which lie next to it; and thus to know anything you must know all."

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Lecture at Harvard U Feb 17, 1886



"An education, other than purely professional or technical, can even seem to be an impediment."

Allan Bloom

The Closing of the American Mind



"We are shut up in schools and college-recitation rooms for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a bellyful of words and do not know a thing."


Journal 1839



"Much learning does not teach understanding."

Heraclitus (500 B.C.)




  " A general education which would give a broad knowledge of many things was a primary objective. As Tacitus remarked, a man of learning was like a warrior taking the field in full armor. Vitruvius had long ago enumerated the many fields of knowledge in which an architect must be versed, and Quintilian recommended the same wide study for the perfect orator. Plutarch agreed that education should not be narrow and overspecialized; he wished t to be capped by training in moral philosophy, although physical education was not to be neglected. All the critics emphasized again and again that, although it was essential to be able to speak and write well, one must have something to say; in short, knowledge must come before skill. There was no substitute for hard work and constant application. Too many doctors, said Galen, were like athletes who wanted an Olympic victory but did not want to train for it. The critics agreed with Euclid that there was no royal road to geometry or any other worthwhile subject.

-Tom B. Jones

The Silver-Plated Age  (about Rome)



"An extra-terrestrial being, newly arrived on Earth-scrutinizing what we mainly present to our children in television, radio, movies, newspapers, magazines, the comics, and many books – might easily conclude that we are intent on teaching them murder, rape, cruelty, superstition, credulity, and consumerism. We keep at it, and through constant repetition many of them finally get it. What kind of society could we create if, instead, we drummed into them science and a sense of hope?"

Carl Sagan

The Demon-Haunted World




"Education, properly understood, is that which teaches discernment*."

Joseph Roux

Meditations of a Parish Priest (1886)

*discernment is exactly what has been banished from education  Ed.



"it is almost as difficult to make a man un-learn his errors as his knowledge. Malinformation is always more busy than ignorance. Ignorance is a blank sheet, on which we may write; but error is a scribbled one, from which we must first erase. Ignorance is content to stand still, with her back to the truth; but error is more presumptuous, and proceeds in the wrong direction. Ignorance has no light, but error follows a false one."

-Charles Caleb Colton



"We need to unlearn some of our respect for education, since it has undermined our respect for our selves."

Gloria Steinem

Revolutions from Within




"What does education do? It makes a straight-cut ditch of a free, meandering brook."


Journal (1850)




"Education consists mainly in what we have unlearned."

Mark Twain




"So they provided jails called schools, equipped with tortures called an education."

John Updike

The Centaur



"If you meet at dinner a man who has spent his life in educating himself…you rise from table richer, and conscious that a high ideal has for a moment touched and sanctified your days. But oh! To sit next to a man who has spent his life in trying to educate others. What a dreadful experience that is! How appalling is that ignorance which is the inevitable result of the fatal habit of imparting opinions."

Oscar Wilde

The Artist as Critic



"An education which does not cultivate the will is an education that depraves the mind."

Anatole France (1881)



"Study, learn, but guard the original naïveté. It has to be within you, as desire for drink is within the drunkard or love is within the loved."

-Henri Matisse


"Never regard study as a duty, but as the enviable opportunity to learn to know the liberating influence of beauty in the realm of the spirit for your own personal joy and to the profit of the community to which your later work belongs."

-Albert Einstein




"All true educators since the time of Socrates and Plato have agreed that the primary object of education is the attainment of inner harmony, or, to put it into more up-to-date language, the integration of the personality. Without such an integration learning is no more than a collection of scraps, and the accumulation of knowledge becomes a danger to mental health."

-Sir Alfred Zimmern




"Here's the apple. My generation has already taken a bite out of it. But, like Adam, you have to make the best of an imperfect garden. What can you do? Two things: continue to learn and be sure to vote. First, learn. Inform yourselves. Read and think. Don't swallow what the newspapers print. Reflect continually about your government and who's running it, because they'll be doing it with your money. Second, can you correct the follies of my generation unless you vote against them...i would admonish you to stay keenly aware of hunger in this world and do what you can to overcome it. Behind great acts lie practical minds."

-J. Peter Grace



"They teach in academies far too many things, and far too much that is useless."

Goethe (1824)



"Cafeteria-style education, combined with the unwillingness of our schools to place demands on students, has resulted in a steady diminishment of commonly shared information between young people themselves."

E.D. Hirsh Jr.

Cultural Literacy



"The schools of the country are its future in miniature."

Teyyi Hsieh

Chinese epigrams Inside Out (1948


"No one can become really educated without having pursues some study in which he took no interest. For it is a part of education to interest ourselves in subjects for which we have no aptitude."

T.S. Eliot


"Teaching school is but another name for sure and not very slow destruction."

Thomas Carlyle


"Learning is not easy, but hard; culture is severe. The stops to Parnassus are steep and terribly arduous."

John Jay Chapman


"Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition."

Jacques Barzun


"The test and the use of man’s education is that he finds pleasure in the exercise of his mind."

Jacques Barzun



"What’s all our knowledge worth? We don’t even know what the weather will be tomorrow."

Berthold Auesbach (1812-1882)



"You must never feel badly about making mistakes," explained Reason quietly, "as long as you take the trouble to learn from them. For you often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons than you do by being right for the wrong reasons."

  "But there's so much to learn," (Milo) said, with a thoughtful frown.

"Yes, that's true," admitted Rhyme; "but it's not just learning things that's important. It's learning what to do with what you learn and learning why you learn things at all that matters."

-Norton Juster

The Phantom Tollbooth



"If some are still dominated by their former bad habits, and yet can teach by mere words, let them teach....

   For perhaps, by being put to shame by their own words, they will eventually begin to practice what they teach."

-John of the Ladder




"The worst men often give the best advice."

Faith Baldwin



"The world faces a revolutionary transformation. We must all learn to communicate with one another on every topic. The true division is between the self-satisfied specialist in every field and those restless minds in al realms of inquiry who seek a deeper meaning of their discoveries in a more comprehensive frame of reference."

Andrei Sakharov



"Being dumb is very American, very egalitarian…There must be some kind of correlation between the onset of the dumb culture and the death of liberalism…"

Rich Cohen

The Dawn of Dumb

NY Times op-ed 3/11/95



"The eagle never lost so much time as when he submitted to learn of the crow."




"It is a great thing to teach. To give yourself in a way to inspire others to think, to do, to become – what nobler ambition! To be a good teacher demands a high degree of altruism, for one must be willing to sink self, to die, as it were, that others may live. There is something in it that is akin to motherhood – a brooding quality. Every true mother realizes that her children are only loaned to her – sent from God – and that attributes of her mind and body are being used by some Power for a Purpose. The teacher is training her children to do without her."

Elbert Hubbbard


"If universities were given a magic serum that allowed them to speak the truth they might say:

We don’t destroy our students out of cruelty of even neglect. Our needs are greater than theirs, so we take from them. If you study us and suspend moral judgment, you’ll be amazed at how sophisticated we are. We lure young people onto our campuses with promises of a transforming and wonderful experience, and when they come and find hotel dorms and mass lecture halls, we tell them this is the real world and they need to adjust. We persuade them to invest in degrees beyond the job market’s ability to support and we laugh at them and label them losers if they drop out. We subject them to intense grade competition and let housing and social conditions grind them down so they have no energy or time to fight us. We impoverish their teaching and accuse them of no caring for learning and knowledge. We deny them a community and wonder why they have no moral values. We ask them to act out our dreams and say they lack motivation and are lazy if they refuse. We keep them busy night and day, and when they beg us for help, we say, "but we thought you wanted to grow up." We tell them what we do is for their own good, but we never put their interests ahead of ours. If they are weak, we encourage them to become institutional dependents well into mid-life. If they are mediocre, we reward them with paper grades and credentials as a sign of good behavior. Everything we do is masked behind a kind and smiling face. In the end we take everything we can from students. We destroy their faith in themselves and their trust that human institutions can respond rationally to human needs. It wouldn’t be surprising if they hated us. But they don’t. They are just like us."

Robert D. Honigman

University of Secrets




"The apparent facility of learning is the cause why children are ruined. People do not observe that this very facility is a proof that they learn nothing. Their smooth and polished brain reflects like a mirror the objects presented to it; but nothing remains, nothing penetrates. The child retains the words, the ideas are reflected; those who listen understand them; the child does not understand them at all."

Jean Jacques Rousseau



"Unfortunate is the youth who does not know the pleasure of the spirit and is not exalted in the joy of knowing and the joy of beauty, the enthusiasm for ideas, and quickening experience in the first love, delight and luxury of wisdom and poetry."

Jacques Maritain



"I love learning!"

-Sir Richard Branson



"One could not name ten that strongly stand for anything peculiar to themselves, peculiarly wise, radical, experimental, or even peculiarly dangerous, stupid, of licentious. It is astounding that there should be so many self-governing communities, yet so much conformity to the national norm…Most of our colleges being what they are, I fear that many of our best youth would get a better, though very imperfect education if they followed their impulse and quit; and certainly many teachers ought t be more manly even if they risk losing their jobs."

Paul Goddman

Community of Scholars




"You need no special knowledge, no extensive library, no costly laboratory. You do not even need textbooks, and teachers, if you will but think for yourselves…All this array of professors, all this paraphernalia of learning cannot educate a man. Here you may obtain tools, they will be useful only to him who can use them. A monkey with a microscope, a mule packing a library, are fit emblems of the men – unfortunately there are plenty – who pass through the whole educational machinery and come out but learned fools, crammed with knowledge that they cannot use…"

Henry George


"The actual teaching is …selected and controlled…by the business interests playing on the vested academic interests."

J.A.Hobson 1909


"It is wonder – not mere curiosity, one of the lower virtues common also to cats, but wonder, a sense of enchantment, of respect for the mysteries, of love for the other – that is essential to the information and techniques and knowing that seeks insight and understanding."

E.F. Schumacher


"Compared with the medieval university, the contemporary university has developed the mere seed of professional instruction into an enormous activity; it has added the function of research; and it has abandoned almost entirely the teaching or transmission of culture."

Jose Ortega Y Gasset


"In a very real sense, a key indicium of the perceived quality of a liberal arts college is its economic inefficiency."

-Victor E. Ferrall, Jr, Liberal Arts at the Brink



"The students would fly from one thing to another…There was a good deal of what I might call puttering. The decision was made to ‘offer’ something in order to keep the students in line. The Ph.D. degree was the next thing after the A.B. degree and we recognized that we must offer this in order to keep that body of workers in line, and that, in order to secure the results we wanted, it was also necessary to require a piece of research for that degree…We thought, at first, we might avoid it, but we found that we must adopt it."

Ira Remsen


"In one word, the educational trouble with the Harvard of my times was the total absence of touch and direct personal influence between student and instructor…It was not good form – was contrary to usage – for the instructors and the instructed to hold personal relation. Our professors in the Harvard of the ‘fifties’ were a set of rather eminent scholars and highly respectable men. They attended to their duties with commendable assiduity, and drudged along in a dreary humdrum sort of way in a stereotyped method of classroom instruction. But as for giving direction to, in the sense of shaping, the individual minds of young men in their most plastic state, so far as I know nothing of the kind was even dreamed of; it never entered into the professorial mind. This was what I needed, and al I needed – an intelligent, inspiring direction; and I never got it, nor a suggestion of it. I was left absolutely without guidance…No instructor produced, or endeavored to produce, the slightest impression on me; no spark of enthusiasm was sought to be infused into me."

Charles Francis Adams, Jr

(describing the Harvard of 1850’s)


"No one, took Harvard College seriously…as far as it educated at all, it was mild and liberal school, which sent young men into the world with all they needed to make respectable citizens, and something of what they wanted to make useful ones."

Henry Adams

(describing his experience at Harvard)


   "How did it come to pass that so many teachers and students, in some of the freest and most scientifically accomplished nations in the world, entertained such an illiberal, illogical, and politically repressive account of the relationship between science and society? Part of the answer may be that universities generally, and humanities departments in particular, are more backward than is universally recognized. For most of their history, universities functioned primarily as repositories of tradition It was professors, not priests, who refused to look through Galileo's telescope, and who drove genuinely progressive students like Francis Bacon and John Locke to distraction with their endless logic-chopping and parsing of ancient texts. Similarly it was twentieth-century humanities professors who, confronted with the glories of modern science and the triumph of the liberal democracies over totalitarianism, responded by denigrating virtually every political philosophy except totalitarianism. Campus enthusiasm for authoritarian rule today is predominantly leftist (one gets an impression that professors and students who live in university housing and eat at the commons think that everybody else should also enjoy life in a socialist paradise), but historically it has often come from  the right as well. In 1927, years before Hitler came to power, 77 percent of the German student organizations were sufficiently in tune with the Nazis to ban non-Aryans from joining their clubs; by 1931, university support for Hitler was twice that of the German population at large. ..."

-Timothy Ferris

The Science of Liberty



"In the midst of this wasteland stands the American professor. Almost single-handedly, the professors…have destroyed the university center of learning and have desolated higher education."

Charles Sykes

Profscam: Professors and the Demise of Higher Education



   "it may be useful to summarize the campaigns of the radical academics in terms of their principal errors, First, they ignored science as a source of knowledge and instead depicted it as a source of power, a distortion which ultimately led them to discount the validity of all objectively verifiable knowledge. Second, they thought that since scientific research is a social activity, the knowledge it produces must be nothing more than a social construct; this was like claiming that if various teams of mountaineers climb the north face of Eiger via different routes, there must be no real Eiger at all. Finally, they turned their back on learning. This may seem an odd thing to say of college professors-but academics, like most people, tend to form their political beliefs early on and then cease examining them, settling instead into blinkered judgments about how to realize their presumptively superior goals. The result is an academic shell game that was already well under way when Galileo, centuries ago, noted that it was the habit of many professors "to make themselves slaves willingly; to accept decrees as inviolable; to place themselves under obligation and to call themselves persuaded and convinced by arguments that are so 'powerful' and 'clearly conclusive' that they themselves cannot tell the purpose for which they were written, or what conclusion they serve to prove!"

-Timothy Ferris

The Science of Liberty




"…the emotions of youth in every age in every vigorous society should be fed upon the great works of the past; songs, aspirations, stories, prayers, reverence for humanity, knowledge of God – or else some dreadful barrenness will set in and paralyze the intellect of the race… To cut loose, to cast away, to destroy, seems to be our impulse. We do not want the past. This awful loss of all the terms of thought, the beggary of intellect, is shown in the unwillingness of the average man in America to go to the bottom of any subject, his mental inertia, his hatred of impersonal thought, his indifference to truth…"

John Jay Chapman



"The overwhelming cult of specialization dehumanizes man’s life…This represents a great peril for democracies, because the democratic ideal more than any other requires faith in and the development of spiritual energies – a field which is over and above specialization – and because a complete division of the human mind and activities into specialized compartments would make impossible the very ‘government of the people, by the people, and for the people.’"

Jacques Martain



"Some people will never learn anything, for this reason, because they understand everything too soon."




"Civilized man’s brain is a museum of contradictory truths."

Reny de Gourmont



"In later life as in earlier, only a few persons influence the formation of our character; the multitude pass us by like a distant army. One friend, one teacher, one beloved, one club, one dining table, one worktable, are the means by which his nation and the spirit of his nation affect the individual.’

Jean Paul Richter


"Education with inert ideas is not only useless; it is above all things harmful."

Alfred North Whitehead




"The average Ph.D. thesis is nothing but the transference of bones from one graveyard to another."

-J. Frank Dobie



"It is in fact a part of the function of education to help us to escape, not from our own time – for we are bound by that but from the intellectual and emotional limitation of our time."

T.S. Eliot




"An education that is not focused on the life of today and tomorrow is treason to the pupil."

Ezra Pound



"Editors, publishers, and universities loathe the inquisitive spirit."

Ezra Pound



"Real education must ultimately be limited to men who INSIST on knowing, the rest is mere sheep-herding."

Ezra Pound



"There are just a few things a teacher can do, and that only for the sensitive and spirited."

Irwin Edman



"Do not blame teachers or administrators of they fail to educate, to change their students. For the task of preventing the new generation from changing in any deep or significant way is precisely what most societies require of their educators."

George Leonard


"Humans like history, like to know why things start and end, like to have reasons for it, and the school never has any reasons."

James Herndon

How to Survive in your Native Land



"There is nothing so pedantic as pretending not to be pedantic."

William Hazlitt

(There is nothing so bourgeois as trying not to look bourgeois- Andy Warhol)




"Teaching is probably the noblest profession in the world – the most unselfish, difficult and honorable profession. It is also the most un-appreciated, underrated, underpaid and under praised profession."

Leonard Bernstein




"The end then of learning, is to repair the ruins of our first parents by regaining to know God aright, and out of that knowledge to love Him, to imitate Him, to be like Him."

John Milton


"I was a modest, good-humored boy; it is Oxford that has made me insufferable."

Max Beerbohm




"All men who have turned out worth anything have had the chief hand in their own education."

Sir Walter Scott




   "Every human being, Emerson believed sands "in need of expression," students and teachers included: "In love, in art, in avarice, in politics, in labor, in games, we study to utter our painful secret" (CW 3:4) It is no different in teaching, though what a teacher expresses, he felt, is less what he knows than what he is. For him there were two kinds of teachers, whether "sacred or literary": those who "speak from within, or from experience" and therefore teach with firsthand knowledge and authority; and those who speak only "from without", as spectators merely," on the basis of secondhand evidence (CW 2:170). For him, only the former-Emerson's "true scholars"-deserve the name of teacher. Like Alfred North Whitehead in our own century, Emerson protested against dead knowledge-what Whitehead in the Aims of Education (1929) would call "inert ideas."

Merton M. Sealts, Jr

Emerson on the Scholar



"Since infants are not taught to speak except by learning the expressions of speakers, why can men not be made eloquent, not by teaching them the rules of eloquence, but by having them read and hear the expressions of the eloquent and imitate them in so far as as they are able to follow them? have we not seen examples of this being done? For we know many men ignorant of the rules of eloquence who are more eloquent than many who have learned them; but we know of no one who is eloquent without having read or heard the disputations and sayings of the eloquent."

-St. Augustine


"A child who enters school today faces a twelve-to-twenty year apprenticeship in alienation. He learns to manipulate a world of words and numbers, but he does not learn to experience the real world."

Rudolf Arnheim




"one of the main difficulties we have to face is that modern education all over the world is chiefly concerned with making us mere technicians…the function of education is not merely to prepare us to pass a few examinations but to help us to understand this whole problem of living – in which is included sex, earning a livelihood, caring for the earth, being earnest, sharing joy and laughter and yet knowing how to think widely and deeply."

J. Krishnamurti




"The spirit of self-help is the root of all genuine growth in the individual; and, exhibited in the lives of many, it constitutes the true source of national vigor and strength. Help from without is often enfeebling in its effects, but help from within invariably invigorates."

Samuel Smiles 1859



"We have rudiments of reverence for the human body, but we consider as nothing the rape of the human mind."

Eric Hoffer




"How people keep correcting us when we are young! There’s always some bad habit or other they tell us we ought to get over. Yet most bad habits are tools to help us through life."



"Modern secular education is failing not because it doesn’t teach who Ginger Rogers, Norman Mailer, and a thousand other people are but because it has no moral, social, or intellectual center. There is no set of ideas or attitudes that permeates all parts of the curriculum. The curriculum is not, in fact, a ‘course of study’ at all but a meaningless hodgepodge of subjects. It does not even put forward a clear vision of what constitutes as educated person, unless it is a person who possesses ‘skills.’ In other words, at technocrat’s ideal – a person with no commitment and no point of view but with plenty of marketable skills."

Neil Postman





"Touted as cradles of free thought, fairness and open expression, American universities of the late twentieth century are in fact relatively boring places where expression is systemically limited and unfairness is all but routine..."

Robert Grudin

On Dialogue


"It is the tragedy of the world that no one knows that he doesn’t know – and the less man knows, the more sure he is that he knows everything."

Joyce Gary


"Adam Smith’s carrot and Darwin’s stick have by now rendered character development an all but completely forgotten theme in many industrialized countries."

Robert Frank




"The diploma gives society a phantom guarantee and its holders phantom rights. The holder of a diploma passes officially for possessing knowledge…comes to believe that society owes him something. Never has a convention been created which is more unfortunate for every one – the state, the individual (and, in particular, culture)."




"The surest way to corrupt a young man is to teach him to esteem more highly those who think alike than those who think differently."



"Mediocre men often have the most acquired knowledge."




"Life, authentic life, you must have, or you can teach nothing."



"O Youth: Do you know that yours is not the first generation to yearn for a life full of beauty and freedom? Do you know that all your ancestors felt as you do – and fell victim to trouble and hatred?

Do you know, also, that your fervent wishes can only find fulfillment if you succeed in attaining love, and understanding of men, and animals, and plants, and stars, so that every joy becomes your joy and every pain your pain? Open your eyes, your heart, your hands, and avoid the poison your forebears so greedily sucked in from history. Then will all the earth be your father land, and al your work and effort spread forth blessings."

Einstein 1932




"....most of the academic world is a vast sea of conformity, and every time a new wave of theory and methodology rolls through, all the fish try to swim in its direction. twenty years ago every academic critic of literature was talking about the self, its autonomy and its terrible isolation. Today not a single respectable academic would be caught dead anywhere near the word, for the "self" is now the "subject" and the subject, everyone heartily agrees, is a contingent construction....what ought to be most distressing to everyone is the utter predictability of the great majority of the academic criticism that gets published."

-Louis Menand



"The vanity of teaching doth oft tempt a man to forget that he is a blockhead."

George Halifax



"Education today, more than ever before, must see clearly the dual objectives: education for living and educating for making a living."

James Mason Wood



"Education is not the fitting of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."

William Butler Yeats 1865-1939




"Learn to say ‘No’; it will be of more use to you than to be able to read Latin."

Charles Haddon Spurgeon 1834-1992



"Few ‘scientific’ concepts have so thoroughly muddled the thinking of both scientists and the general public as that of the ‘intelligence quotient’ or ‘IQ’: The idea that intelligence can be quantitatively measured along a single linear scale has caused untold ham to our society in general, and to education in particular."

Joseph Weizenbaum




"Psychologists should be ashamed of themselves for promoting a view of general intelligence that has engendered such a testing program."

David McClelland


"…It is, therefore, time to ask, What story does American education wish to tell now? In a growing Technopoly, what do we believe education is for? The answers are discouraging, and one of them can be inferred from any television commercial urging the young to stay in school. The commercial will either imply or state explicitly that education will help the persevering student to get a good job. And that’s it. Well not quite. There is also the idea that we educate ourselves to compete with the Japanese or the Germans in an economic struggle to be number one. Neither of these purposes is, to say the least, grand or inspiring. The story each suggests is that the United States is not a culture but merely an economy, which is the last refuge of an exhausted philosophy of education. This belief, I might add, is precisely reflected in the President’s Commission Report, A Nation at Risk, where you will find a definitive expression of the idea that education is an instrument of economic policy and of very little else."

Neil Postman




"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity."

Albert Einstein



"A few years after I began teaching, it occurred to me that being a teacher-not being a student-provides the best education. "To teach is to learn twice," wrote Jourbert, in a simple-sounding maxim that could have several different meanings. It could mean that one first learns when getting up the material one is about to teach and then tests and relearns it in the actual teaching. it could mean that being a teacher offers one a fine chance for a second draft on one's inevitably inadequate initial education. It could mean that learning, like certain kinds of love, is better the second time around. It could mean that we are not ready for education, at any rate of the kind that leads on to wisdom, until we are sixty, or seventy, or beyond. i favor this last interpretation, for it accounts for the strange feeling that I have had every year of my adult life, which is that only twelve months ago I was really quite stupid."

-"Aristides" (Editor Joseph Epstein "Student Evaluation," Spring 1987



"A learned man is an idler who kills time by study."

George Bernard Shaw

Maxims for revolution




"I remember the very place in Hyde Park where, in my fourteenth year, on the eve of leaving my father's house for a long absence, he told me that I should find, as I got acquainted with new people, that I had been taught things which youths of my age did not commonly know: and that many persons would be disposed to talk to me of this, and to compliment me upon it. What other things he said on this topic I remember very imperfectly: but he wound up by saying, that whatever I knew more than others, could not be ascribed to any merit in me, but to the very unusual advantage which had fallen to my lot, of having a father who was able to teach me, and willing to give he necessary trouble and time: that it was no matter of praise to me, if I knew more than those who had not had a similar advantage....I felt that what my father had said respecting my peculiar advantages was exactly the truth and common sense of the matter, and it fixed my opinion and feeling from that time forward.'

John Stuart Mill (1806-1874) (one of the first homeschooled prodigies)




"A little learning is a dangerous thing. Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring; Their shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again."


Essay of Criticism




"A little learning is a dangerous thing. Attend an American University and live dangerously."

-George Axelrod  'Lord Love a Duck'



"But education is a higher word; it implies an action upon our mental nature, and the formation of a character; it is something individual and permanent, and is commonly spoken of in connection with religion and virtue."

Cardinal Newman



"The college should seek to make the men whom it receives something more than excellent servants of a trade or skilled practitioners of a profession. It should give them elasticity of faculty and breadth of vision, so that they shall have a surplus of mind to expend, not upon their profession only, for its liberalization and enlargement, but also upon the broader interests which lie about them, in the spheres in which they are to be, not breadwinners merely, but citizens as well, and in their own hearts, where they are to grow to the statue or real nobility."

Woodrow Wilson

Inaugural address as President of Princeton 1902




"The aim and consummation of all education is the love of loveliness."




"It needs hardly to be said that one of the purposes of an education is to give us greater control of our situation."

Neil Postman

The End of Education





"A place of light, of liberty, and of learning."

Benjamin Disraeli



"A thought-control center."

Joan Tepperman



"The lie in the reasoning for forced education is to get us to agree that "children belong in school , because they can only be taught in school.....schooling hem to confuse being taught with learning; grade level advancement with education, and a diploma with competence...."

-Ivan Illich   "deschooling Society"



"Sophistry and affectation."

Francis Bacon



   "As your father, it is needless for me to keep saying, I hope, except for emphasis, that each one of my children will rise to the full height of your possibilities, which means the possession of these eight cardinal virtues which constitutes a lady or gentleman.

1st. Be clean both inside and outside

2nd. Who neither looks up to the rich or down on the poor.

3rd. Who loses, if needs be, without squealing.

4th. Who wins without bragging.

5th. Who is always considerate of women, children, and old people.

6th Who is too brave to lie.

7th. Who is too generous to cheat.

8th. Who takes his share of the world and lets other people have theirs.

   May God help you to carry out these eight cardinal virtues and peace and prosperity be yours through life."

Lovingly yours,

George Washington Carver (letter 1921)

William J. Federer

George Washington Carver: His Life & Faith in His Own Words




" When one sees the number and variety of institutions which exist for the purpose of education, and the vast throng of scholars and masters, one might fancy the human race to be very much concerned about truth and wisdom. But here, too, appearances are deceptive. The masters teach in order to gain money, and strive, not after wisdom, but the outward show and reputation of it; and the scholars learn, not for the sake of knowledge and insight, but to be able to chatter and give themselves airs. Every thirty years a new race comes into the world-a youngster that knows nothing about anything, and after summarily devouring in all haste the results of human knowledge as they have been accumulated for thousands of years, aspires to be thought cleverer than the whole of the past. For this purpose he goes to the University, and takes to reading books-new books, as being of his own age and standing. Everything he reads must be briefly put, must be new! He is new himself. Then he acquires knowledge for himself, and making this the immediate object of his studies, decline to trouble himself about the knowledge of others. But the average man of learning studies for the purpose of being able to teach and write. His head is like a stomach and intestines which let the food pass through them undigested. That is just why his teaching and writing is of so little use. For it is not upon undigested refuse that people can be nourished, but solely upon the milk which secretes from the very blood itself

The wig is the appropriate symbol of the man of learning, pure and simple. It adorns the head with a copious quantity of false hair, in lack of one’s own; just as erudition means endowing it with a great mass of alien thought. This, to be sure, does not clothe the head so well and naturally, nor is it so generally useful, nor so suited for all purposes, nor so firmly rooted; nor when alien thought is used up, can it be immediately replaced by more from the same source, as is the case with that which springs from soil of one’s own. So we find Sterne, in this Tristram shandy, boldly asserting that an ounce of a man’s own wit is worth a ton of other people’s.

And in fact the most profound erudition is nor more akin to genius than a collection of dried plants is like Nature, with its constant flow of new life, ever fresh, every young, ever changing. There are no two things more opposed than the childish naiveté of an ancient author and the learning of his commentator.

Dilettanti, dilettanti! This is the slighting way in which those who pursue any branch of art or learning for the love and enjoyment of the thing,-per il loro diletto, are spoken of by those who have taken it up for the sake of gain, attracted solely by the prospect of money. This contempt of theirs comes from the bass belief that no man will seriously devote himself to a subject, unless he is spurred on to it by want, hunger, or else some form of greed. The public is of the same way of thinking: and hence its general respect for professionals and its distrust of dilettanti. But the truth is that the dilettanti treats his subject as an end, whereas the professional, pure and simple, treats it merely as a means. He alone will be really in earnest about the matter, who has a direct interest therein, takes to it because he likes it, and pursues it con amore. It is these, and not hirelings, that have always done the greatest work.


In the republic of letters it is as in other republics; favor is shown to the plain man-he who goes his way in silence and does not step up to be cleverer than others. But the abnormal man is looked upon as threatening danger; people band together against him, and have, oh! Such a majority on their side.

Human knowledge extends on all sides farther than the eye can reach; and of that which would be generally worth knowing, no one man can possess even the thousandth part.

All branches of learning have thus been so much enlarged that he who would "do something" has to pursue no more than one subject and disregard all others. In his own subject he will then, it is true, be superior to the vulgar; but in all else he will belong to it. If we add to this that neglect of the ancient languages, which is now-a-days on the increase, and is doing away with all general education in the humanities-for a mere smattering of Latin and Greek is of no use-we shall come to have men of learning who outside their own subject display an ignorance truly bovine.

An exclusive specialist of this kind stands on a par with a workman in a factory, whose whole life is spent in making one particular kind of screw, or catch, or handle, for some particular instrument or machine, in which, indeed, he attains incredible dexterity. The specialists may also be likened to a man who lives in his own house and never leaves it. There he is perfectly familiar with everything , every little step, corner, or board; much as Quasimodo in Victor Hugo's Notre Dame knows the cathedral; but outside it, all is strange and unknown;

For true culture in the humanities it is absolutely necessary that a man should be many-sided and take large views’ and for a man of learning in the higher sense of the word, an extensive acquaintance with history is needful. He, however, who wishes to be a complete philosopher, must gather into his head the remotest ends of human knowledge; for where else could they ever come together?

It is precisely minds of the first order that will never be specialists. For their very nature is to make the whole of existence their problem; and this is a subject upon which they will every one of them in some form provide mankind with a new revelation. For he alone can deserve the name of genius who takes the All, the Essential, the Universal, for the theme of his achievements; not he who spends his life in explaining some special relations of things one to another."

Arthur Schopenhauer



   "Direct denunciations of the current educational inadequacies were common. Tacitus blamed the educational failures of his age on the decay of old-fashioned virtues, the carelessness of parents, the ignorance of teachers, and the laziness of young men. The decay of antique virtue was by this time an equally old-fashioned and empty theme, but there was something to be said for Tacitus' other complaints. It was probably true that the lack of discipline in the home stemmed from the fact that mothers were no longer responsible for the early training of their children. other critics agreed that fathers and mothers should not delegate educational responsibilities to servants. Even the use of servants would not be so bad, said Plutarch, if they were carefully selected; ordinarily, however, the unemployables were placed in charge of the children, while the most trustworthy slaves were chosen to manage the master's farm, ship, shop, or other business. Parents were also careless about the selection of teachers; proper investigation of their mental and moral qualifications was not made, and very often a teacher would be chosen because he charged a smaller fee than his competitors. Once the child was in school, the parents might interfere in senseless and annoying ways: one teacher wrote a single book about the wrongs he had suffered from parents.

   The critics felt that many instructors did not possess the proper attitudes or adequate qualifications for teaching; Aulus Gellius remembered with asperity an ignorant grammarian of Eleusis. Teachers often competed for students; they tried to attract large groups by lowering standards or substituting spectacular for sound material. In some cases there was an attempt to push the students ahead too rapidly, while in other instances they were coddled and chaperoned far beyond the time when they should have been able to shift for themselves. many of the school exercises were absurd and did not truly prepare the students for careers in, for example, oratory or law. Some teachers tried to give advanced instruction in fields in which they were not themselves qualified. As Petronius said, some try to teach more than they know. The conservative attitude was expressed by Quintillian who remarked that "a grammarian should be ignorant of some things." both Plutarch and Lucian charged that the schools had more than their quota of glib lecturers who played to the crowd, phonies who delighted in a display of pretended knowledge and were poseurs par excellence, men who strove for novelty at the expense of soundness."

Tom B. Jones  (on ancient Rome)

The Silver-Plated Age



"To be at home in all lands and all ages; to count Nature as a familiar acquaintance and Art an intimate friend; to gain a standard for the appreciation of other men's work and the criticism of one's own; to carry the keys of the world's library in one's pocket, and feel its resources behind one in whatever task he undertakes; to make hosts of friends among the men of one's own age who are the leaders in all walks of life; to lose oneself in general enthusiasms and co-operate with others for common ends.....

-William De Witt Hyde



"My family saw to it that I was well-read and highly educated son who could understand the world, judge men, and converse intelligently and learnedly on most subjects with experts and scholars."

-Agha Khan III




"The aphorism that education never ceases is true."

-Agha Khan III



"Gentlemen-you are now about to embark upon a course of studies which will occupy you for two years....Some of you....will go into the Church, or to the Bar, or the House of Commons...or into various professions...A few-I hope a very few-will become teachers or dons....nothing you will learn....will be of the slightest possible use to you in after life-save only this: should be able to detect when a man is talking rot, and the main, if not the sole, purpose of education."

Harold Macmillan

Oxford Remembered


Dumbing down Teachers

By John Leo

U.S. News & World Report , aug 3, 1998




A reader sent in a list of teacher-education courses at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, along with a note. "This explains why 59 percent of prospective teachers in Massachusetts flunked a basic literacy test." The courses listed were: "Leadership in Changing Times," "Social Diversity in Education" (four different courses,), "Embracing Diversity,", Diversity & Change," "Oppression & Education," "Introduction to Multi-cultural Education," "Black Identity," "Classism," "Racism", "Sexism," "Jewish Oppression," "Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual Oppression," "Oppression of the Disabled," and (get this one) "Erroneous Beliefs."

The reader was referring to a basic 10th-grade test in language, math , and other subjects, given to 1,800 would-be teachers in Massachusetts. Among other things, the 59 percent who failed often couldn’t spell simple English words like "burned" and "abolished." Apparently they went into ed school without knowing much about anything, then came out the same way. But at least they are prepared to drill children in separatism, oppression, and erroneous beliefs.

Our schools of education have been a national scandal for many years, but it’s odd that they are rarely front-and-center in our endless debate about failing schools. The right talks about striving and standards, the left talks about equal funding and classroom size, but few talk much about the breeding grounds for school failure-the trendy, anti-achievement, oppression-obsessed, feel good, esteem-ridden, content-free schools of educations.

For an article in City Journal, journalist Heather Mac Donald recently visited New York’s City College to see how a modern education school manages to fills its class time without making, the dread, professional mistake of having any actual content or clear purpose. She found in teacher talking about "building a community, rich of talk" and how ed-school students should "develop the subtext of what they are doing." Each student wrote for seven minutes on "What excites me about teaching." "What concerns me about teaching," and "What was it like to do this writing?" After their writings were read aloud, the teacher said, "So writing gave you permission to think on paper about what’s there."

STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES. The students split into small groups and talked about their feelings. "It shifted the comfort zone," said one student, already fluent in ed-speak. Another said: "I felt really comfortable. I had trust there." "Let’s talk about that," said the teacher. "We are building trust in this class." But what they were not doing was talking about anything in the real world , or about how to teach real lessons to real children. The credo for ed schools, Mac Donald says, is "Anything but knowledge." "Once you dismiss real knowledge as the goal of education," she writes about the make-work silliness in ed classes, "you have to find something else to do."

The educations schools take for granted that education must be "child centered", which means that children decide for themselves what they want to learn. Heavy emphasis is put on feelings and the self. An actual curriculum, listing things students ought to know, is viewed as cramping the human spirit. Ed-school students are taught to be suspicious of authority and the notion that teachers might be expected to know more than the children they teach, so the word "teacher" is in decline. The fad word is now "facilitator," part guide, and part bystander watching the self-educating child.

The traditional ed-school hostility to achievement currently hides behind the word "equity" –bright students must be tamped down so slower learners will not feel bad about themselves. Smuggled in along with equality is the notion that performance and learning shouldn’t really count They elevate some children at the expense of others. Grades and marks are bad, too, because they characterize and divide children. The result is that the brighter students get little help are often the target of teacher resentment. Rita Kramer in her 1991 study of education schools, Ed School Follies, wrote: "What happens to those more capable or motivated students is hardly anyone’s concern."

This lack of concern for achievement now has a racial cast. Asian and white children are often depicted as somehow out of step if they work harder and achieve more than blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities. Instead of working hard with children to reduce the racial gap, ed-school theory calls for strategies to conceal it under group projects or simply to demonstrate that achievement doesn’t matter.

Various experiments are underway to let bright college graduates bypass education schools. Connecticut has program allowing graduates to switch into teaching from other careers simply by taking an eight-week summer course and a test. In New York, the Teach for America program produced a sudden infusion of very good teachers into public schools, also by bypassing the ed-school swamp. But the hidebound education industry is digging in to close these loopholes and protect its closed-shop monopoly. It makes no sense to force teachers through schools as bad as these. People should be able to qualify as teachers simply by passing rigorous tests in their area of competence. Scrapping the ed-school requirement is clearly the way to go."

John Leo



"Yet Somehow the education establishment never catches on. Why this mass amnesia? Well, if you are a professor of education, charged with bringing up the next generation of teachers. How do you make a name and reputation and secure tenure? You come up with some brand-new theory, and persuade public school systems to try it out, that’s how

Which is why I believe that, paradoxically , eliminating education requirements would be the swiftest way to improve America’s teachers who surveys show, are increasingly being drawn from the ranks of C students at mediocre schools. Teachers who were themselves second-rate students are in no position to teach children the joys of becoming literate.

Such teachers assuage their status anxieties by withdrawing into a world of increasingly rarefied education jargon, which the layman, in their eyes, is not qualified to judge.

Allowing public schools to hire any college graduate would open up a floodgate of new talent and break the monopoly of the education establishment.

Teachers chosen for their mastery of the subject rather than their paper education credentials would be more apt to care about passing that body of knowledge, and less vulnerable to the seductive charms of the myriad shape-shifting Pied Pipers of academia."

Maggie Gallagher

Why teachers can’t teach, and students aren’t learning



"Then too, the NEA followed with its report, "Education for the 70s," which said, "Schools will become clinics whose purpose is to provide individualized, psycho-social treatment for the student, and teachers must become psycho-social therapists." "This will include biochemical and psychological mediation of learning, as drugs are introduced experimentally to improve in the learner such qualities as personality, concentration, and memory. Children are to become the objects of experimentation." This has already come about 3ith the thousands of children who have been given Ritalin and other tranquilizers to improve their classroom behavior, the endless listings and categorizing of "learning disabilities," and teachers across the country who have already adopted the role of psycho-social therapists."

Jo-Ann Abrigg

In the Name of Education



"Ignorance of all things is an evil neither terrible nor excessive, nor yet the greatest of all; but great cleverness and much learning, if they be accompanies by a bad training, are a much greater misfortune."




"I do-nothing but go about persuading you all, old and young alike, not to take thought for your persons or your properties, but and chiefly to care about the greatest improvement of the soul. I tell you that virtue is not given by money, but that from virtue comes money and every other god of man, public as well as private.
This is my teaching, and if this is the doctrine which corrupts the youth, I am a mischievous person."

-Socrates, in Plato's The Death of Socrates



"Our Education system is in shambles, and yet the education establishment makes no changes. It hangs on to bureaucratic privilege and outdated ideas.

Why isn’t our country demanding change? Why are we so silent, as survey after survey shows that we are leaving generations of Americans wandering alone and ignorant in a complex and, yes, glorious history?

Georgie Anne Geyer


The Tinker Test of Reality

By Dominick S. Pangallo


A public school, this morning.

"Article four, please."

"The right of the people to be secure in their person, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

"Thank you." My teacher turns and writes on the chalkboard: 1791-The Bill of Rights. "Today we continue our discussion on civil liberties. To review, why were civil liberties important to the Founding Fathers?" A hand raises. "Yes?"

"They wanted to protect the American people from the tyranny that they had suffered while under British colonial rule."

"Very good. The history of American freedom is the history of the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the American Constitution. This is basic American history-it is how we got where we are now"

American history class, today. The Bill of Rights is history. It is the past; written and ratified by a bunch of dead white guys more than 200 years ago. That’s what our teacher is telling us right now. But don’t take his word for it.

"Okay people, who can tell me what symbolic speech is? Right, a nonverbal act intended to convey a message. How about imminent danger?" Another hand. "God ahead."

"Um, you can only be punished for statements if there is an imminent danger that the statement will incite an unlawful act."

"Right, Now, lets…."The bell rings. Our principal speaks over the public-address system.

"All students to their lockers please." So, we go.

It is a commonplace routine now in our school. We all stand by our respective lockers in the hallway. I look down the corridor. We are all dressed in the school uniform: gray pants and white shirts. The rows of students have the appearance of regimented soldiers-identical and at attention.

First is the random breathalyzer test. I pass, as does everyone else who must take it according to lottery. The scratching sound of the drug-sniffing dogs on the tiled floor moves down the hallway. It takes them forty minutes to go from the metal detector at the school entrance to the last locker in the hall. A student near me has not used a school-issued lock on his locker, so his is cut off and his locker searched. Nothing is found besides a few textbooks and a jacket, which is thoroughly gone through. Next is the random locker search. Today, every eighth locker is checked: nothing. In fact, I don’t believe anything has ever been found during the searches, but they are standard school policy now. One hour later, it’s over and we return to our class.

We take our seats. Our backpacks have been searched while we were in the hallway, and our personal belongings are scattered on our desks. A couple minutes of cleaning up, and then we return to our lessons

"Now," my teacher says, "where were we?? Oh, yes, civil liberties."

A public school, this morning."

Dominick S. Pangallo (a student, and honorable mention essay winner in the 1998 Humanist Essay Contest)



"the professors-those modern priests of licensed political and social quackery-poison the university youth so effectively that it would take a miracle to cure them. By the time a young man is graduated from the university he has already become a full-fledged doctrinaire full of conceit and contempt for the rabble, whom he is quite ready to oppress and especially to exploit in the name of his intellectual and moral superiority. the younger such a person is, the more pernicious and reprehensible he becomes."

Michael Bakunin, The Lullers 1808-69



   "by temperament and upbringing, I had always taken comfort in orthodoxy. In a life spent subject to authority, deference had become a deeply ingrained habit. I found assurance in conventional wisdom. Now, I started, however hesitantly, to suspect that orthodoxy might be a sham. I began to appreciate that authentic truth is never simple and that any version of truth handed down from on high-whether by presidents, prime ministers, or archbishops-is inherently suspect. The powerful, I came to see, reveal truth only to the extent that it suits them. Even then, the truths to which they testify come wrapped in a nearly invisible filament of dissembling, deception, and duplicity. The exercise of power necessarily involves manipulation and is antithetical to candor.

   I came to these obvious points embarrassingly late in life. "Nothing is so astonishing in education," the historian Henry Adams once wrote, "as the amount of ignorance it accumulates in the form of inert facts." Until that moment I had too often confused education with accumulating and cataloging facts. In Berlin, at the foot of the Brandenburg Gate, I began to realize that I had been a naïf. And so, at age forty-one, I set out, in a halting and haphazard fashion to acquire a genuine education."
-Andrew J. Bacevich

Washington Rules: America's Path To Permanent War






   From time in the cradle, up to high school graduation, you were likely force-fed everything from Sesame Street to SAT prep courses. You were pushed to read faster; be smarter, and raise your GPA in the hopes that one day you'd be accepted into a top-rated college-and that would set you up for life.

   But rather than instilling the desire to pursue a "real" job, college taught you to hate them. Most professors were open-minded through leaders who encouraged discussion. unlike the mandated dress code in primary and secondary schools, college promoted a sense of individuality and expression. No one dictated where or how you worked, as long as you got the work done. Cheating or achieving grades so low that teachers began to question whether you'd had a pulse were two of very few reasons you might be expelled-which were better odds than hoping for job security.

   When you did manage to find the time to pay attention or even make  it to class, you probably realized that your classes weren't offering you the critical skills necessary for the real world. College courses seemed to train you for the same mythical dream job your parents desired for you. There were no lectures on corporate hierarch, filling documents, or answering phone. When you weren't wasting time taking classes that were about as useful as a screen door on a submarine, you were receiving a high-level education that taught you how to do your eventual employer's job, not the remedial tasks of his entry-level assistant. Simply put, you were told what to think-not how to think.

   Instead of breaking free from the system and taking control of your own life, you took the easy road. You decided to allow your perception of reality to remain warped, because you knew you had a reward just waiting to be cashed in. You BS in BS was your meal ticket to superior job placement and untold riches.

   Or so you thought..."

-Scott Gerbar

Never get a Real Job



"The most important thing to re-organize about education is our own thinking about it. Our purpose cannot be to project yet another Utopia as to what teaching methods are best, what educational goals are the loftiest, or what kind of end-product would represent the student of our dreams. We need to begin instead by facing up to the debacle in which we find ourselves, so as to understand not only the institutional and attitudinal factors behind the failures of the educational system, but also the factors behind its successes in thwarting repeated attempts at fundamental reform. We need to face the harsh reality of the kind of people we are dealing with, the kind of bitter fight we can expect from them if we try to disturb their turf and perks-and the bleak future of our children if we don't.

   Despite the lofty rhetoric which is as much a part of the educational world as the cap and gown, we must face up to what educators have actually done, as distinguished from what they have said:

1. They have taken our money, betrayed our trust, failed our children, and then lied about the failures with inflated grades and pretty words.

2. They have used our children as guinea pigs for experiments, targets for propaganda, and warm bodies to be moved here and there to mix and match for racial balance, pad enrollments in foreign-language programs mislabeled 'bilingual,' or just be warehoused until labor unions are willing to let them enter the job market.

3. They have proclaimed their special concern for minority students, while placing those students into those colleges where they are most likely to fail.

4. They have proclaimed their dedication to freedom of ideas and the quest for truth, while turning educational institutions into bastions of dogma and the most intolerant institutions in American society.

5. They have presumed to be the conscience of society and to teach ethics to others, while shamelessly exploiting college athletes, overcharging the government, organizing price-fixing cartels, and leaving the teaching of undergraduates to graduate student assistants and junior and part-time faculty, while the tenured faculty pursue research and its rewards.

All this says something, not only about educators, but also about the rest of us, who let them get away with such things. At the very least, it says something about the kind of institutional insulation which protects misfeasance and malfeasance from detection and correction. No reforms which leave that institutional insulation intact are likely to escape the fate of innumerable previous reforms, which have either been nullified or turned to the further advantage of the education establishment."

Thomas Sowell

Inside American Education: The Decline, The Deception, The Dogmas"




"The promise was that, since college graduates all get good jobs, more college graduates would mean more people getting good jobs: democracy through education. The fallacy in the promise is one of arithmetic, similar to the principle of Catch-85, which dictates that all but 15 percent of us must lose out on tax loopholes. If, in an unequal society like ours, there are 15 per cent of the population-no matter how many go to college. If only 15 per cent go to college, including those with inherited places, then the system works, and everyone with the diploma finds himself on the sunny side of the street.  But if 30 per cent gets the diploma, only half of them can cash in on its promise. The rest will be headed off at the pass. And if, as soon will be the case, half of the population gets a college degree, fewer than one in three graduates will get what he paid for. This simple arithmetic is what is screwing the average man out of the supposed value of his diploma. But few people seem to be aware of the odds they are facing. For example a 1973 survey of 38,200 high school students found that half of them thought they could become millionaires if they tried. Now, that is clearly impossible: no matter how hard they try. That group of students is not going to turn out 19,100 millionaires. But, because the mechanical rabbit of opportunity is theoretically in everyone's reach, each thinks he could catch it if only he ran fast enough."

-David Hapgood

The Screwing of the Average Man




"A lot of people will still be paying off their student loans when it's time for their kids to go to college." Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of and, who has compiled estimates of student debt, which outpaced credit card debt for he first time last year. Student loan debt is likely to top a trillion dollars this year as more students go to college and a growing share borrow money to do so."



   "Critics of education tend to miss that basic point. In the past decade, there has been a flood of criticism of the education industry: school has been under grater siege than any other of our institutions. Much of the criticism centers on the boredom of those years in which we are incarcerated in a series of classrooms. The vast exciting world outside is transformed in that classroom into the trivial tedium of a textbook, and learning about that world a process that should be as exciting and varied as the subject itself, becomes the regurgitation on command of disconnected information that is meaningless to teacher and student alike. Our natural curiosity is gradually snuffed out, ending, to pick the worst example, in the patient compiling of trivia for a doctoral dissertation. These are familiar observations, but too often the critics think the solution lies in a specific change-fire the superintendent, make schools of education train better teachers, adopt the latest fad in teaching methods-rather than in coping with the fact that school is a monopoly. Expecting school to perform better under monopoly conditions is like expecting General Motors to make a better car before someone else does."

-David Hapgood

The Screwing of the Average Man




"The industry adopts a benevolent attitude toward the average man. It does not hard-sell its product. Though there is undoubtedly more propaganda for school than for Chevrolets and deodorants, the tone is more genteel than commercial. School is there, after all, for the average man's good-to give him an opportunity his parents never had. As we have seen, there is just enough truth in that statement to make it convincing to the great majority of Americans. The corollary is that if the average man does not stay in school and ends up screwed, it's his fault, not the system. He dropped out and became a factory worker when he could have stayed in and become a doctor. This process is known in another kind of con game as "cooling out the mark." When two con men finish skinning their victim, or mark, the one who posed as his ally will often stay with the victim to convince him that it's useless to call the cops: that is cooling out the mark. Similarly, the education industry cools out its mark by convincing him he is to blame if he did not grab the brass ring promised him by school. This is another sign of progress in a democratic society. It used to be that the average man was doomed to be a loser simply because he was born in the wrong class: it was the system that did it to him. Now he is screwed by the shell game of the diploma-and persuaded that it's nobody's fault but his own."

-David Hapgood

The Screwing of the Average Man





"Most educators know that what will transform education is not another theory or book, but a transformed way of being in the world. In the midst of the familiar trappings of education-competition, intellectual combat, obsession with a narrow range of facts, credits, credentials-we seek a life illumined by spirit and infused with soul

Education today is too often a death-dealing enterprise. It may seem harsh to call it that, but I think we’ve all experienced what I mean. I am always astonished and saddened by the fact that this country, which has the most widespread public education system in the world, has so many people who walk around feeling stupid because they feel that they are the losers in a competitive system. It’s a system that dissects life and distances us from the world because it’s rooted in dullness and fear. Too many children have their natural love of learning taken away from them by the very process that’s supposed to enhance that gift. They come out of schools and never want to learn again.

That’s why, today, we must seek what is life-giving in the midst of a system that deadens learning. The profound human transactions called knowing, teaching and learning are not just about information, and they’re not just about getting jobs. They’re about healing and wholeness. They’re about empowerment, liberation, transcendence. They ‘re about reclaiming the vitality of life.

The question that we now must wrestle with is why there is so little life-giving power in the words education, teaching, learning. They’ve become boring words, flat words, dull words, pointing to experiences that are also boring, flat and dull.

Education is dull because we’ve driven the sacred out of it. What does it mean to reclaim the sacred at the heart of knowing, teaching, and learning ; to reclaim it from an essentially depressive mode of knowing that honors only data, logic, analysis, and a systematic disconnection of the self from other and from the world? My definition of the sacred is very simple: It is anything worthy of respect. And as soon as we see that, the sacred reveals itself to be everywhere, for there is nothing rightly understood that is not worthy of respect.

I can’t think of many places where people feel less respect than they do on university campuses. Universities grant respect to only a few things-to the text, to the expert, to those who win in competition. But educators don’t grant respect to tentative and heartfelt ways of being in the world, where the person can’t quite think of the right word or can’t think of any word at all. We don’t grant respect to silence and wonder. We don’t grant respect to voices outside our tight little circle, let alone to the voiceless things of the world.

Why? Because in academic culture, we are afraid. It is a culture of fear. We are afraid of hearing something that would challenge us and change us. Rilke once said "There is no place at all that is not looking at you. You must change your life," But I don’t want to hear those voices because I am afraid of change. And so, in academic culture, I am carefully walled off by systematic disrespect from all things that might challenge me, break me, open me, and change me. It is a fearful culture.

For several years I’ve been studying social movements that have transformed the cultural landscape. And I’ve discovered that they’ve often started when individuals who felt isolated and alone in the midst of an alien culture, individuals who were in touch with something life-giving in the midst of a death-dealing situation, decided to stop living a divided life, to stop acting differently on the outside from what they know to be true inside. I call it the Rosa Parks decision. In 1955, Parks’ refusal to give up her bus seat to a white man sparked the Montgomery bus boycott , a crucial moment in the history of the civil rights movement. Her act demonstrates the power to unleash change that lies in one of the most basic decisions that human beings can make.

I’ve often asked myself how people find the courage to make such decisions. The answer I’ve found in the lives of Parks, Vaclav Havel, Nelson Mandela, Dorothy Day, and others is a simple one. These people have understood that no punishment could be worse than the one we inflict on ourselves by living a divided life. If I can bring some of that courage to my work as an educator, I will have done some good in the world."

Parker J. Palmer

The Heart of Knowing Shamballa Sun (Sept 97)




Imagine there's no dissent.

No way to speak your mind.

No confidential consultation.

All constitutional rights decline




"If school days are the happiest of your life, I'm hanging myself with my skip-rope tonight."

Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis   (at the age of 16)



"In a hundred years there may be no clear distinction between humans and computers. There will be enormous augmentation of human perceptual and cognitive abilities through neural implant technology.

   Humans who do not use such implants are unable to participate in meaningful dialogue with those who do-knowledge is understood instantaneously through assimilated knowledge protocols. The goal of education and intelligence beings is discovering new knowledge to learn."

-Ray Kurzweil  The Age of Spiritual Machines



"Is it not paradoxical, to the extent of being in bad taste, to speak of education as an obstacle and not as a help to thought? Is it not a fact that we can tell an educated man from another, not merely by his manners and language, not even by his information, but chiefly by his capacity for resisting another man's thought and defending his own views? Is it not true that we are never surprised, when we meet a brilliant young man, to hear that he received his education at one of the great English public schools, in a Paris lycee, or at a famous German or Polish Gymnasium? Practically all philosophers, from Plato to Herbert Spencer, include an Art of Thinking as well as a treatise on education in their philosophies, thereby implying that the two things hang together. Horace Mann and Channing have produced in the United States a vast progeny of men convinced that they can only raise the democracy of their country up to a real consciousness by education. The more a man thinks the better adapted he becomes to thinking, and education is nothing if it is not the methodical creation of the habit of thinking."

Ernest Dimnet

The Art of Thinking




"And the entire object of true education is to make people not merely do the right things, but enjoy the right things:-not merely industrious, but to love industry-not merely learned, but to love knowledge-not merely pure, but to love purity-not merely just, but to hunger and thirst after justice."

John Ruskin

The Crown of Wild Olive



"The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping the old ones, which ramify, for those brought up as most of us have been, into every corner of our minds."

-John Maynard Keynes




"Man knows so much and does so little."

-R. Buckminster Fuller



"A woful putrefaction threatens the Rising Generation; Barbarous Ignorance, and the unavoidable consequence of it, Outrageous Wickedness wil make the Rising Generation Loathsome, if it have not Schools to preserve it."

Cotton Mather 1699



"....a memorable change must be made in the system of education and knowledge must become so general as to raise the lower ranks of society nearer to the higher. The education of a a nation instead of being confined to a few schools and universities for the instruction of the few, must become the national care and expense for the formation of the many."

-John Adams 1779   (letter from John Adams)



"School has become the world religion of a modernized proletariat, and makes futile promises of salvation to the poor of the the technological age. The nation-state has adopted it, drafting all citizens into a graded curriculum leading to sequential diplomas not unlike the initiation rituals and hieratic promotions of former times."

Ivan Illich


"If you are conscious to yourself that you possess more knowledge upon some subjects than others of your standing, reflect that you have had greater opportunities of seeing the world, and obtaining a knowledge of mankind than any of your contemporaries. That you have never wanted a book but it has been supplied to you, that your whole time has been spent in the company of men of literature and science. How unpardonable would it have been in you to have been a blockhead."

(Letter from Abigail Adams to a young man) 1778



"Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?"

George W. Bush


"Let us then, give reins to our fancy, and imagine a which a system of competitive examinations....had been so developed as to embrace every important quality of mind and body, and where a considerable sum was allotted to the endowment of such marriages as promised to yield children who would grow into eminent servants of the State. We may picture to ourselves an annual ceremony in that Utopia, in which the Senior trustees of the Endowment Fund would address ten deeply-blushing young men, all of twenty-five years old, in the following terms: -"Gentlemen, I have to announce the results of a public examination, conducted on established principles: which show that you occupy the foremost places in your year, in respect to those qualities of talent, character, and bodily vigor which are proved, on the whole, to do most honour and best service to our race. an examination has also been conducted on established principles among all the young ladies of this country who are now of the age of twenty-one, and I need hardly remind you, that this examination takes note of grace, beauty, health, good-temper, accomplished housewife's, and disengaged affectations, in addition to the noble qualities of heart and brain. by a careful investigation of the marks you have severally obtained....we have been enabled to select ten of (the young ladies) Names with special reference to your individual qualities. It appears that marriages between you and these ten ladies, according to the list I hold in my hand, would offer the probability of unusual happiness to yourselves, and what is of a paramount interest to the State, would probably result in an extraordinarily talented issue. Under these circumstances, if any or all of these marriages should be agreed upon, the Sovereign herself will give away the brides, at a high and solemn festival, six months hence, in Westminster Abbey. We, on our part, are prepared, in each case, to assign 5,000L as a weeding-present, and to defray the cost of maintaining and education your children, out of the ample funds entrusted to hour disposal by the State."

-Francis Galton 1865

The Intelligence Men: Makers of the IQ Controversy" by Raymond E. Fancher



"The educators of our schools worship a holy trinity of their own, namely, Average, Authority, and Standardized Methods...We are fast becoming a nation of average people. Instead of statesmen, we have politicians of average ability; we aim at an average weight and height for every child and adult, at an average wage rate, based upon an average standard of life.....Average is the great god of modern life....

   A sausage machine is a fine thing-with which to make sausages. School administrators have generally considered it a good method of making brains for children."

Grace Silver (1911)

Queen Silver: The Godless Girl

by Wendy McElroy




"How happy you should be in not having an education. You know I am called quite a botanist and plant improver, will I never studied botany in school and am glad of it. We learn very little at school anyway except to clutter up our minds with things that we never have occasion to use. Most of the men and women who have led the world have had very little or no education in the schools but an abundance of education which nature gives us freely."

Luther Burbank (a letter written to Queen Silver 'child genius' July 24,1923)




"In my lecture on "The Rights of Children," I took up this matter. Grown people have robbed children of their rights, robbed the whole human race of the possibility of intellectual advancement, just because they wished "to preserve the childhood of their children". The mother looks on her baby, or child, as a sort of glorified doll, and can't bear to see it develop. ....When you rob a child of its maximum brain development, you have no means of knowing, nor has the child, how greatly you have wronged him. Children have the right to unlimited knowledge, to get it as early in live as possible, and to have the pleasures and brain development which spring from responsibilities I wish you would read my lecture on "The Rights of Children"" (Queen Silver educated herself in Libraries and was a famous speaker and had her own magazine when she was 14 years old)

Wendy McElroy

Queen Silver



"The best thing for being sad, " replied Merlyn, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honor trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then-to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting."

-T.H. White

The Once and Future King




"The advantage of a classical education is that it enables you to despise the wealth which it prevents you from achieving."

-Russell Green




"The all-round liberally educated man, from Paleolithic times to the time when the earth shall become a cold cinder, will always be the same, namely, the man who follows his standards of truth and beauty, who employs his learning and observation, his reason, his expression, for purposes of production, that is, to add something of his own to the stock of the world's ideas."

-H.F. Osborn




   "And even apart from the debasement and impermanence of language, many of the most highly educated among us seem unable to discuss general ideas at all. The best and the brightest have become specialists. Their careers and status increasingly depend on a precise specificity within each professional niche. Their speech is vague and their knowledge constricted.

   Some who still do have the will to seek broader knowledge no longer have the time. Uniquely in world history, the best educated and most affluent have the least leisure.

   The golden twilight of the leisured classes ensured both contemplation and erudition. out of immersion in the great wealth of past culture could come new thought to add to our heritage but no longer, save on campuses for those faculty members brave enough to ignore the political correctness of their colleagues."

-David Lebedoff

The Same Man: George Orwell & Evelyn Waugh: In Love and War



"I do not believe that there is a country in the world where, in proportion to the population, there are so few learned, individuals. Primary instruction is within the reach of everybody; superior instruction is scarcely to be obtained by any....almost all the Americans are in easy circumstances, and can, therefore, obtain the first elements of human knowledge.

In America, there are but few wealthy persons; nearly all Americans have to take a profession. Now, every profession requires an apprenticeship. The Americans can devote to general education only the early years of life. At fifteen, they enter upon their calling, and thus their education generally ends at the age when ours begins. Whatever is done afterwards is with a view to some....object; a science is taken up as a matter of business, and the only branch of it which is attended to is such as admits of an immediate practical application....A middling standard is fixed in America for human knowledge. All approach as near to it as they can; some as they rise, others as they descend....

At the extreme borders of the Confederate States, upon the confines of society and the wilderness, a population of bold adventurers have taken up their abode, who pierce the solitudes of the American woods, and seek a country there, in order to escape the poverty which awaited them in their native home. As soon as the pioneer reaches the place which is to serve him for a retreat, he fells a few trees and builds a log-house. Nothing can offer a more miserable aspect than these isolated dwellings. The traveler who approaches one of them towards nightfall sees the flicker of the hearthflame through the chinks in the walls; and at night, if the wind rises, he hears the roof of boughs shake to and fro....Who would not suppose that this poor hut is the asylum of rudeness and ignorance? Yet no sort of comparison can be drawn between the pioneer and the dwelling which shelters him. Everything about him is primitive and wild, but he is himself the result of the labor and experience of eighteen centuries. He wears the dress and speaks the language of cities; he is acquainted with the past, curious about the future, and ready for argument upon the present; he is , in short, a highly civilized being, who consents for a time to inhabit the backwoods, and who penetrates into the wilds of the New World with the Bible, an axe, and some newspapers. It is difficult to imagine the incredible rapidity with which thought circulates in the midst of these deserts. I do not think that so much intellectual activity exists in the most enlightened and populous districts of France."

Alexis De Tocqueville

Democracy in America (1835-40)



"The "Culture Wars"-That precious Bourgeois squabble-only means to me one of two ways of making war on children."

article: "The re-education of an American Teacher" Garret Keizer Harpers Magazine Sept 2011



It is ominous, A presumption of crime, that this word Education has so cold, so hopeless a sound. A treatise on education, a convention for education, a lecture, a system, affects us with slight paralysis and certain yawning of the jaws. We are not encouraged when the law touches it with its fingers. Education should be as broad as man....The imagination must be addressed. Why always coast on the surface and never open the interior of Nature, not by science, which is surface still but by poetry? Is not the Vast an element of the mind? Yet what teaching, what book of this day appeals to the Vast?

Alas for the cripple Practice when it seeks to come up with the bird Theory, which flies before it. Try your design on the best school. The scholars are of all ages and temperaments and capacities. It is difficult to class them, some are too young, some are slow, some perverse. Each requires so much consideration, that the morning hope of the teacher, of a day of love and progress, is often closed at evening by despair. Each single case, the more it is considered, shows more to be done; and the strict conditions of the hours, on one side, and the number of tasks, on the other. Whatever becomes of our method the conditions stand fast,-six hours, and thirty, fifty, or a hundred and fifty pupils. Something must be done, and done speedily, and in this distress the wisest are tempted to adopt violent means, to proclaim martial law, corporal punishment, mechanical arrangement, bribes, spies, wrath, main strength and ignorance, in lieu of that wise genial providential influence they had hoped, and yet hope at some future day to adopt. Of course the devotion to details reacts injuriously on the teacher. He cannot indulge his genius, he cannot delight in personal relations with young friends, when his eye is always on the clock, and twenty classes are to be dealt with before the day is done. Besides, how can he please himself with genius, and foster modest virtue? A sure proportion of rogue and dunce finds its way into every school and requires a cruel share of time, and the gentle teacher, who wished to be a Providence to youth, is grown a martinet, sore with suspicions: knows as much vice as the judge of a police court, and his love of learning is lost in the routine of grammars and books of elements....

I confess myself utterly at a loss in suggesting particular reforms in our ways of teaching. No discretion that can be lodged with a school-committee, with the overseers or visitors of an academy, of a college, can at all avail to reach these difficulties and perplexities, but they solve themselves when we leave institutions and address individuals....I advise teachers to cherish mother-wit. I assume that you will keep the grammar, reading, writing and arithmetic in order; 'tis easy and of course you will. But smuggle in a little, contraband wit, fancy, imagination, thought....Nobody shall be disorderly, or leave his desk without permission, but if a boy runs from his bench, or a girl because the fire falls, or to check some injury that a little dastard is inflicting behind his desk on some helpless sufferer, take away the medal from the head of the class and give it on the instant to the brave rescuer. If a child happens to show that he knows any fact about astronomy, or plants, or birds, or rocks, or history, that interest him and you, hush all the classes and encourage him to tell it so that all may hear. Then you have made your school-room like the world."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Education" (1840)



"I sit with Shakespeare and he winces not. Across the color line I move arm in arm with Balzac and Dumas, where smiling men and welcoming women glide in gilded halls. From out the caves of evening that swing between the strong-limbed earth and the tracery of the stars, I summon Aristotle and Aurelius and what soul I will , and they come all graciously with no scorn nor condescension. So, wed with Truth, I dwell above the Veil. Is this the life you grudge us, O Knightly America? Is this the life you long to change into the dull red hideousness of Georgia? Are you so afraid lest peering from this high Pisgah, between Philistine and Amelekite, we sight the Promised Land?"

W.E.B. Du Bois

"Of the training of Black Men" (1909)



"Our brighter young people (are) saturating, themselves today with a mass of knowledge that can have little application for the lives which most of them must inevitably lead. Disappointment and discontent are almost sure to be the result, and....among its educated classes are not good for any nation."

Ellwood P. Cubberly (1911)



Article: "Sociology and Other 'Meathead' Majors by Mr. Mansfield, professor of government at Harvard, is also a senior fellow of Stanford's Hoover Institution The New York Times may 31, 2011

"Others try to imitate the sciences and call themselves "social scientists." The best imitators of scientists are the economists. Among social scientists the rank highest in rigor, which means in mathematics. They also rank highest in boastful pretension, and you can lose more money listening to them than by trying to read books in sociology, Just as Gender Studies taints the whole university with its sexless fantasies, so economists infect their neighbors with the imitation science they peddle. (Game theorists, I'm talking about you.)....."

Mr. Mansfield Professor of government at Harvard



   "To describe self-education as a gentlemanly culture conveys its planned, patterned quality. Eighteenth-century manuals on self-education not only exhorted young men to improve their minds but told them how to do so. One favored activity was the keeping of commonplace books. Locke thought so highly of the practice that he devised a new way to reorganize these journals. In the eighteenth century commonplace books served some of the functions later encompassed by Bartlett's Familiar quotations. Madison copied portions of the memoirs of Cardinal de Retz and extracts from Montaigne into his commonplace book. Jefferson recorded quotations from Bolingbroke, Milton, Shakespeare, and Ossian into his. Commonplace books were not only convenient places to record quotations that might otherwise slip from memory; they also forced young men* to reflect on what they were copying and in this way helped them form resolutions to regulate their lives. In addition, they were useful places to fashion and re-fashion sentences in order to enhance their precision and concision."

Joseph F. Kett  * (women kept commonplace books in Renaissance Europe) ed

The Pursuit of Knowledge Under Difficulties: From Self-Improvement to Adult Education in America, 1750-1990



"Colleges serve the people who work there more than the students who desperately need to learn something"

-Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus

Higher Education?




"The first step to living wisely is to relinquish self-conceit.

   See the delusional folly in being a nervous know-it-all whose giddy mind is always prattling on about its knee-jerk impressions of events and other people, forcing current experiences into previously formed categories; "Oh yes, this thing here is just like such and such."

   Behold the world fresh-as it is, on its own terms-through the eyes of a beginner. To know that you do not know and to be willing to admit that you do not know without sheepishly apologizing is real strength and sets the stage for learning and progress in any endeavor.

   The wises among us appreciate the natural limits of our knowledge and have the mettle to preserve their naiveté. They understand how little all of really know about anything. There is no such thing as conclusive, once-and-for-all knowledge. The wise do not confuse information or data, however prodigious or cleverly deployed, with comprehensive knowledge or transcendent wisdom. They say things like "Hmmmm" or "Is that so!" a lot. Once you realize how little we do know, you are not so easily duped by fast-talkers, splashy gladhanders, and demagogues. Spirited curiosity is an emblem of the flourishing life."


The Art of Living




"If you wish to be applauded at an educational convention, vociferate sentimental platitudes about the sacred rights of the child, specifying particularly his right to happiness gained through freedom."

William C. Bagley (1935)




"Since education is effective only insofar as it affects the working of the brain, we can see that an elementary school program narrowly restricted to reading, writing, and arithmetic will educate mainly one hemisphere, leaving half of an individual's high-level potential unschooled. Has our society tended to overemphasize the values of an analytical attitude, or even of logical reasoning?

   Perhaps in our educational system we lay too little-emphasis on natural history. Perhaps in our schools and universities and throughout the whole battery of intelligence and achievement tests that we use, we do not seek out enough persons with talent to do the kind of work done by Mendeleyev and Darwin....I would like  to encourage our society to search for such people, and to support them."

-Murray Gell-Mann   Nobel Prize winner



"...Instead, I want to give hope to any underclassmen here today. I say to you, and I can't stress this enough: leave. Pack your things and your ideas and don't come back. Drop out. Start up. For I can tell you that a cap and gown will keep you down just as surely as these security guards dragging me off this stage are keeping me dow...."

(from a speech to the graduating class of 00  Yale University by Larry Ellison, CEO of ORACLE)


APPLICATIONS TO ELITE UNIVERSITIES RISE  (Article in April 1,2010 New York Times)



"In our enlightened contemporary university, men walk on eggshells and women run from shadows. Every gesture is suspect: if a colleague compliments you on your dress, it smacks of sexism; if a professor is friendly, he is readying you for future sexual abuse. There is no kindness so innocent that women educated in the "patterns" of harassment cannot recognize it as an instance of the newly identified activity experts refer to as "grooming" the victim for the kill. Academic encouragement, easy jesting, an affectionate epithet-all of what used to be the currency of good fellowship as well as teaching-have become cause for vigilance, fodder for complaint, the stuff of suits.

One of the oddest developments in this story is that a movement such as campus feminism, which began with the aim of giving women more power-more faith in their own resources; greater enfranchisement, sexuality, and independence-has ended by infantilizing them to this extent, sensitizing them to slights they never felt, making them alternately ridiculous (Gretzinger )and irrelevant (me) in their own sexual-harassment tales, and training them to see themselves as resource less victims of resourceful men. It has ended by teaching them to run to their elders and fear the dark; to distrust male appreciation and demonize male attraction-to revert, in sum, into the shrinking, swooning, sex-spooked maidens we thought we' left behind in a darker age."

Cristina Nehring

"The Higher Yearning" Harpers Magazine, Sept 2001



"Allegations of a 'hostile environment' for women could cost the university a half-billion dollars in federal funding."

Is Yale University Sexist? by Peter Berkowitz  The Wall Street Journal  April 16/17 2011



(The devil Screwtape in a speech at the "Annual Dinner of the Tempters' Training College for Young Devils":) What I want to fix your attention on is the vast overall movement towards the discrediting, and finally the elimination of every kind of human excellence-moral cultural, social or intellectual. And is it not pretty to notice how "democracy" (in the incantatory sense) is now doing for us the work once done by the most ancient Dictatorships, and by the same methods?

....The basic principal of the new education is to be that dunces and idlers must not be made to feel inferior to intelligent and industrious pupils. That would be "undemocratic.".....Children who are fit to proceed to a higher class may be artificially kept back, because the others would get a being left behind. The bright pupil thus remains democratically fettered to his own age group throughout his school career, and a boy who would be capable of tackling Aeschylus or Dante sits listening to his coeval's attempts to spell out A CAT SAT ON A MAT.

   In a word, we may reasonably hope for the virtual abolition of education when I'm as good as you has fully had its way. All incentives to learn and all penalties for not learning will vanish. The few who might want to learn will be prevented. Who are they to overtop their fellows? And anyway the teachers-or should I say, nurses?- will be far too busy reassuring the dunces and patting them on the back to waste any time on real teaching. We shall no longer have to plan and toil to spread imperturbable conceit and incurable ignorance among men. The little vermin themselves will do it for us."

C.S. Lewis

The ScrewTape Letters



   "Suppose education is a process by which we share what is right! A process by which we communicate, with compassion, what we celebrate! Should this posture emerge, we would surely reestablish those vivid, vital ties with the natural. Alexander Marshack's notion of "cyclical time" and "storied time" would be reinstated. We would no longer fear to dream. We would celebrate our imagination and invent as comfortably as we verify. We would smile when remind that something we said had been said years ago. We would smile in celebration that we were part of the natural human universe. What we do is what we do. There is joy and there is non-joy. both cases reflect involvement with the natural world.

   No longer is human against nature or for nature....but finally human is with nature. The tidy mind that lines things up and puts them in order is no longer hostile toward the mind that creates. Soon humans can no longer differentiate between the two. There are no priorities to winning losing....only the priority of being. "

Bob Samples

The Metaphoric Mind





This past summer, in a sixth grade math class, New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein piloted a small program in which individualized, technology-based learning takes the place of the old "let's all proceed together" approach. Each day, students in the School of One are given a unique lesson plan-a "daily playlist"-tailored to their learning style and rate of progress that includes a mix of virtual tutoring, in-class instruction and educational video games. It's learning for the Xbox generation"



"They've turned education into a sort of racket now."

-Thom Andersen   (Prof at Cal Arts)




"If we do discover a complete theory, it should in time be understandable in broad principle by everyone, not just a few scientists. Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists, and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason-for then we would know the mind of God."

-Stephen Hawking



"We find that we have given no definition of education, that in fact education does not appear to be definable."

T.S. Eliot



"The Eagle and the Mole" (1921)

"Amid the reeking herd,

Shun the polluted flock,

Live like that stoic bird

The Eagle of the rock.

If you would keep your soul

From spotted sight or sound,

Live like the velvet mole;

Go burrow underground."

-Elinor Hoyt Wylie   American Poet





"My students are out of control...They are rude, disengaged, lazy whiners. They curse, discuss drugs, talk back, argue for grades, complain about everything, fancy themselves entitled to whatever they desire, and are just generally annoying ...."

-Natalie Monroe   Pa. Teachers Strikes nerve with 'lazy whiners' blog   The Canon City Daily Record Feb 16, 2011





"They get angry when you ask them to think or be creative....Parents are more trying to be their kids' friends and less trying to be their parent....They want everything right now....Kids! They are disobedient, disrespectful oafs. Noisy, crazy, sloppy, lazy LOAFERS."






"When you describe reality you are treated like a criminal."

-Eriz Zemmour




"....Learning assumes quite an importance but in reality has very little validity. It has not civilized human beings. It has done very little to improve us."

-Course in Miracles




"People Are Knowledge"  Spoken by Achal Prabhala of Bangalore India, would like to change the rules that guide Wikipedia the Wikipedia conference in Haifa , Israel...He asks the question: "When Knowledge Isn't Written, Does It Still Count?




.."A year after filling out that scholarship application, I took a big old detour from the clear self-perception of innocent adolescence. I went off to Harvard and got sucked into the culture of the Ivy league (unofficial motto: "If you aren't incredibly smart, just kill yourself.") I stuck around Harvard long enough to earn three degrees: a bachelor's in east Asian languages and  civilizations and my master's and Ph.D. in sociology. I spent time in Asia, learning some Chinese and Japanese and  absorbing a philosophical tradition that would profoundly influence all my future thinking.

   I also got married and had myself three rug rats, demonstrating the sound life-planning skills of a meth addict who goes bungee jumping without a cord. my middle child, Adam, was diagnosed with Down syndrome 2 months before he was born. This forced me to face a few little questions "What makes a human life worth living?" and "What is the reason for our existence?" and "How do you use American sign Language to tell a baby, "I'm changing your diaper," while simultaneously changing the diaper?" In other words, real life invaded my ivory-tower education and smacked me around, hard, until I had to admit my own total ignorance about everything that really matters. And this, as Plato says, is the beginning of wisdom. Not wisdom (I don't claim that), but its beginning.

   After that, I steered my whole education toward understanding how to build a life that would be worth living. ..."

Martha Beck

Steering by starlight



article: Why Play Is Serious: A leading researcher in the field of cognitive development says when children pretend, they're not just being silly-they're doing science" by Alison Gopnik


Book: "The Pleasure of Finding Things Out/The Meaning Of It All" by Richard P. Feynman

Book: "Academic Charisma and the Origins of the Research University" by William Clark

Book: "Real Education" by Charles Murray

Book: "The Intelligence Men: Makers of the IQ Controversy" by Raymond E. Fancher

Book: "What Is Education?" by Philip W. Jackson

Book: "Crazy U: by Andrew Ferguson

Book: "The Twelve-Year Sentence: Radical Views of Compulsory Schooling" ed by William F. Rickenbacker

Book: "Why Don't Students Like School?" by Daniel T. Willingham

Book: "Overschooled but Undereducated" by John Abbot w/Heather MacTaggart

Book: "DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, And the Coming Transformation of Higher Education " by Anya Kamenetz

Book: College: What it Was, Is, and should Be" by Andrew Debanco

Book: "Lessons Learned: Reflections of a University President" by William G. Bowen

Book: "The Death and Life of the Great American School system: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education" by Diane Ravitch

Book: "Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher's Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling" by Jon Taylor Gatto

Book: "Real Education: Four Simple Truths for Bringing America's Schools Back to Reality" by Charles Murray

Book: "Save The World On Your Own Time" by Stanley Fish

Book: "School's Out" by Lew Perelman

article: "AGAINST SCHOOL :How Public education cripples our kids, and why" by John Taylor Gatto...Harper's magazine/Sept 2003

Book: "Breaking Free: Public School Lessons and the Imperative of School Choice" by Sol Stern

Book: What Does it Mean To Be Well Educated? And More Essays on Standards, Grading, and Other Follies" by Alfie Kohn

Book: "College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be" by Andrew Delbanbco

Book: "Dumbing Us Down" : The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling" by John Taylor Gatto

Book: "The Shadow Scholar: How I Made A Living Helping College Kids Cheat" " by Dave Tomar

Book: "The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America's Campuses" by Alan Charles Kors & Harvey A. Silverglate

Book: "Excellence Without A Soul" By Harry R. Lewis

Book: "Non Campus mentis. World History According to College Students" Ed by Anders Hennickson

Book: "Real Time: A Catalogue of Ideas and Information," by John Brockman & Ed Rosenfeld

Book: "Generation X Goes to College: An eye-opening Account of Teaching in Post-Modern America" by Peter Sadis

Book: "The Pleasure of finding things out" by Richard Feynman

Book: "Classics Illustrated; A Cultural History, with Illustrations" by William B. Jones Jr.

Book: "Who Killed Homer? The Demise of Classical Education and Recovery of Greek Wisdom" by Victor Davis Hanson & John Heath

Book: "Stop Teaching our Kids to Kill" by Lt. Col Dave Grossman

Book: "Are We Getting Smarter?:Rising IQ in the Twenty-First Century" by James R. Flynn

Book: "Poisoned Ivy" by Benjamin Hart

Book: "The Advancement of Learning" by Francis Bacon

Book: "Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?" by Paul Sahlberg

Book: "The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home" by J. Wise & S.W. Bauer

Book: "The Complete Home Learning Source Book" by Rebecca Rupp

Great Courses on Tape….The Teaching Company

Book: "Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling" with Patrick Farenga

Book: "Leaving School: Finding Education" by Jon Wiles and John Lundt

Book: "The Last Professors: The corporate University and the Fate of the Humanities" by Frank Donohue

Book: "The Power of Privilege: Yale and America's Elite Colleges" by Joseph A Soares

Book: "Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses" by Josipa Roksa

Book: "The Innovative University: changing the DNA of Higher Education from  the Inside Out." by Clayton M. Christensen and Henry J. Eyring

Book: "The Dumbest Generation: how the Digital Age Stupefies young Americans and Jeopardizes our Future"  by Mark Bauerlein

Book: "The Geeks Shall Inherit  the Earth: Popularity, quirk theory, and why Outsiders Thrive After High School." by Alexandra Robbins

Book: "MISMATCH: How Affirmative Action Hurts Students It's Intended to Help and why Universities won't admit it" by Richard H. Sander & Stuart Taylor, Jr.

Book: "Why Korean Education is leaving America in the DUST" : and What we must do to Catch up" by William d. hedges