I am making slow, slow progress through The Great Tradition: Classical Readings on What It Means to Be an Educated Human Being is a collection of the writings about education from Plato to the modern era, the writings that have informed the development of western civilization and classical education.
Today is one final quote from Seneca, Roman statesman living in the time of Christ and Nero, whom the medievals and John Calvin read with respect.
Liberty requires wisdom.
In our talk of classical education or a liberal arts education, we must keep our definitions and our aim in view. The liberal arts boil down to studying wisdom. Wisdom comes to us in many forms, and the liberal arts are concerned with wisdom in all its forms – not mere information or raw skills. It is knowledge with purpose, knowledge with application for all of life.
We want to possess wisdom and act on it. That brings liberty of mind and conscience.
Charlotte Mason agreed – gasp – with this classical educator. She wrote in School Education that we should perhaps find a new word for education which means ‘applied wisdom.’ And what is wisdom?
And what is the result of the pursuit of wisdom?
Seneca developed this aspect in its opposite form, and described those who pursue the liberal arts for the information and skills alone (the Poll-Parrots, perhaps?):
Charlotte Mason likewise wrote:
The result of an education in wisdom is a resilient integrity which knows what should be done and has the strength of mind and body to do it.
It is not information, but applied knowledge. With this sort of education in wisdom, rather than a student who is tactless and troublesome, we will have a vital and vigorous youth:
Likewise, Seneca wrote:
After all, virtue is the goal of education.
I’d love for you to share your thoughts on these quotes in the comments.