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PAIDIEA/ EDUCATION



I went to an Anglican convent school in Sussex, of great learning and beauty, of John Newman's Oxford Movement, of William Morris' Arts and Crafts Movement, of Cecil Sharpe's collecting of English folk songs in the Appalachians, and where we were taught socialist beliefs, as being in accord with Christ's Gospel of equality and of peace, Jeremy Bentham's 'The greatest good for the greatest number', and participated in the birth of the NHS. But as a child I was also drawn to reading the school books of our servant's child who attended the local government school, books filled with patriotic stories and pictures of Lords Nelson and Wellington, of Trafalgar and Waterloo, books that made one want to die for one's country. I came to realize the unfairness of the servant's daughter's school books. They were preparation for cannon fodder, for war. I came to question the validity of education. What purpose does it serve? To free? To enslave?

There are two kinds of education, one which liberates, the other which enslaves. There has been a tragic mistake where 'Liberal Education' has been for those who are independently wealthy off the labour and poverty of others and who therefore can afford - at others' cost - to enjoy the benefits of Greek,  Latin and French. 'Liberal Education' has created a double-edged sword, a two-sided coin, the liberty that paradoxically enslaves. The wealthy white settler in Kenya or Rhodesia or South Africa could not understand why his wealth or his freedom was at the cost of the indigenous population - and why he - and his family - courted violence. Today's world has internalized that colonialism, where the wealthy no longer pay taxes, storing their ill gotten gains, their loot, in off shore tax havens, while the middle class and the poor are impoverished and taxed. A similar situation existed in Roman Palestine, where the Jewish priestly caste was privileged with neither paying taxes to Caesar or to the Tmple, in exchange for their controlling the Jewish laity into being bled white paying taxes to both Caesar and Temple. These situations create generational trauma. In such unjust models, as Sparta-loving Socrates and Plato taught, it is important to keep the helots down, to deny them education. That is why Athens gave Socrates hemlock to drink. They knew that the model he advocated courted the loss of culture not only for the enslaved but also the masters, that it courted violence, it courted disaster. Somoza, similarly, enforced illiteracy amongst his Nicaraguan subjects. He was countered with the Sandinistas' literacy campaign amongst the peasants and their slogan 'Forgiveness is our Revenge'. The revenge of those in power was to claim the partial censorship of the newspapers was ground for destroying the new freedom. What greater and more total censorship had there been than illiteracy?

The Greeks with their word 'paideia' understood that education was the formation of the child. A musician has been murdered, his song cut short. Guatamalan Facundo Cabral in 2008 had said: "I love life so much because it cost me so much to enjoy it. From the cradle to the grave is a school, so if what we call problems are lessons, we see life differently."


AGRUSTIC SOMNACUNI || ROMANY || CRADLE || LET US PRAISE THE ROM || CHUPPA || MEDIATHECA 'FIORETTA MAZZEI' ||  'ENGLISH' CEMETERY || AUREO ANELLO || HOME || Daniel-Claudiu Dumitrescu/ Julia Bolton Holloway 2012-2020