We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. ~Isaiah 64:8

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

education for heaven's sake

Education, as classically conceived is not primarily for citizenship, or for making money, or for success in life, or for a veneer of "culture," or for escaping your lower-class origins and joining the middle class, or for professional or vocational training, whether the profession is honorable, like auto repair, or questionable, like law; and whether the profession is telling the truth, like an x-ray technician, or telling lies, like advertising or communications or politics. The first and foundational purpose of education is not external but internal: it is to make the little human a little more human, bigger on the inside.

The primary end of classical education, then, is in the student. But the student is a human being, and according to all the religions of the world (and therefore according to the vast majority of all people who have ever lived, in all times, places, and cultures), the ultimate end of final cause of a human being is something more than simply the mature flourishing of human powers, especially the powers of the mind, in this life. If this is true - if in fact this life is a gymnasium to train for another, sterner combat - then the ultimate purpose of classical education is there.

Peter Kreeft, "What is Classical Education?", The Classical Teacher (Memoria Press), Spring 2009.

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