Art by Kit Boyd
A terrific XKCD explainer on hailstones.
In Great Britain, it’s all about the hedges – and has been for a very long time.
C. S. Lewis, from an essay called “Our English Syllabus”:
The purpose of education has been described by Milton as that of fitting a man ‘to perform justly, skilfully, and magnanimously all the offices both private and public, of peace and war’. Provided we do not overstress ‘skilfully’ Aristotle would substantially agree with this, but would add the conception that it should also be a preparation for leisure, which according to him is the end of all human activity. ‘We wage war in order to have peace; we work in order to have leisure.’ Neither of them would dispute that the purpose of education is to produce the good man and the good citizen, though it must be remembered that we are not here using the word ‘good’ in any narrowly ethical sense. The ‘good man’ here means the man of good taste and good feeling, the interesting and interested man, and almost the happy man.
He means “happy” in the sense of flourishing (eudaimonia).
When societies become, in effort if not in achievement, egalitarian, we are presented with a difficulty. To give every one education and to give no one vocational training is impossible, for electricians and surgeons we must have and they must be trained. Our ideal must be to find time for both education and training: our danger is that equality may mean training for all and education for none – that every one will learn commercial French instead of Latin, book-keeping instead of geometry, and ‘knowledge of the world we live in’ instead of great literature. It is against this danger that schoolmasters have to fight, for if education is beaten by training, civilization dies.
I think that last sentence is true, but I would add: schools are not the only places where education happens. Even a blog can be a place where learning is celebrated and shared. I talk about that here – one of my most important posts, for me anyway (maybe not for anyone else though).
Other things I’ve written recently: