April 2012
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  • Karrie E. Alms: Amazing insight into the world of politics awaits any reader at pibgorn … from a Demon’s...
  • Tony: Homefield is Dynegy. Dynegy is Ameren. There Charging You twice for the same energy. Do you really thihk $.04...
  • SouthEnder: Also does anyone remember the Velvet Freeze located on Jefferson St, up the street from the Warner Homes....
  • Eric Pollitt: I flew economy class to Hong Kong for Christmas vacation, which is a 14 hour flight. When I got back...
  • Mike: Homefield has been sold to dynery. Google dynegy scandal to see who your new parent is. If this upsets you give...
  • mortified: Fun while it lasted. Godspeed!
  • aaron: your blogging will be missed but i know that your spirit of fairness will remain alive in your other...
  • Jon: CJ, your blog was a revelation and an inspiration. You have a wonderful talent that is an asset to the...
  • Billy Dennis: Of course the Chronicle is done: Screw you. The Chronicle is one of the best researched blogs...
  • Paul Wilkinson: CJ, am sorry you have ended your blog. It was well done. It seems many have given up as we keep...
  • Sharon Crews: Your voice is definitely needed in this community. Thanks for all your insights.
  • emergepeoria: Your blog is great resource to research Peoria issues. I hope you leave it up.
  • BucketHead: I was not suggesting that, I believe the both of you had very strong common sense and that lead to your...
  • C. J. Summers: Without anonymity, there is no courage among my detractors. Take a look back at the wide variety of...
  • Of course the Chronicle is done: Without Sandberg to give stores to the Chronicle there is no Chronicle.

Quote of the Day


[T]he standards of the two kinds of education [liberal and practical] are fundamentally different and fundamentally opposed. The standard of liberal education is based upon definitions of excellence in the various disciplines. These definitions are in turn based upon example. One learns to order one’s thoughts and to speak and write coherently by studying exemplary thinkers, speakers, and writers of the past. One studies The Divine Comedy and the Pythagorean theorem not to acquire something to be exchanged for something else, but to understand the orders and the kinds of thought and to furnish the mind with subjects and examples. Because the standards are rooted in examples, they do not change.

The standard of practical education, on the other hand, is based upon the question of what will work, and becasue the practical is by definition of the curriculum set aside from issues of value, the question tends to be resolved in the most shallow and immediate fashion: what is practical is what makes money; what is most practical is what makes the most money. Practical education is an ‘investment,’ something acquired to be exchanged for something else—a ‘good’ job, money, prestige. It is oriented entirely toward the future, toward what will work in the ‘changing world’ in which the student is supposedly being prepared to ‘compete.’ the standard of practicality, as used, is inherently a degenerative standard. There is nothing to correct it except suppositions about what the world will be like and what the student will therefore need to know. Because the future is by definition unknown, one person’s supposition about the future tends to be as good, or as forceful, as another’s. And so the standard of practicality tends to revise itself downward to meet, not the needs, but the desires of the student who, for instance, does not want to learn a science because he intends to pursue a career in which he does not think a knowledge of science will be necessary.

It could be said that a liberal education has the nature of a bequest, in that it looks upon the student as the potential heir of a cultural birthright, whereas a practical education has the nature of a commodity to be exchanges for position, status, wealth, etc., in the future.”

—Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America

6 comments to Quote of the Day

  • EmergePeoria

    “[T]he standards of the two kinds of education [liberal and practical] are fundamentally different and fundamentally opposed.”

    Therein lies the problem, both are required to be “successful.” Unfortunately, not all parents have the wherewithal to give a “potential heir a cultural birthright.” The students who can afford to get the liberal education (via travel, cultural activities, etc.) outside of the standard classroom gain the advantage. A culturally aware/mature student can learn to embrace both the liberal and practical.

  • @emerge, an interesting thought, and very typical of people (in my opinion) who have reached a modicum of success without having to endure the disadvantages of poverty. True, while there are a few (a very few) examples of people who have risen above the levels of humble beginnings and disadvantage, the majority of people born in poverty are born in families where the norm is an attitude of defeatism and desperation.

    The liberal education is far more valuable, since it is the source of inspiration that leads to the development of the spirit and the mind. When the computers cease to work without electricity, when the fuel runs out, the arts will endure. All else is simple commerce.

  • EmergePeoria

    Fredrick Smith, there are more than a few who come out of poverty and rise above “attitudes of defeatism and desperation”; even in those instances, one can be driven to improve upon their cultural birthright.

  • cotswold9

    “Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.”
    ? C.S. Lewis

  • tr64

    Excellent topic! How would you classify Jonas Salk’s learning style? Liberal, practical, or both?

  • @EmergePeoria – It is nice to know I am not the only optimist in the room. Unfortunately, I am leaning toward the pragmatic in this circumstance. Believe me, I would love to be proven wrong in this instance, but have little fear it will happen.

    “Cultural Birthright” seems an interesting term. Does one’s culture determine one’s opportunities in this modern world? Are ethnicity or religion the determining factors which shape the individual’s ability to rise above their beginnings? Or is economy the majority factor? Certainly a thought for another debate, perhaps, or a continuance of this topic?

    With respect, Fred.