Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Nietzsche: Education is for the few

In my view, one of the primary problems with education is that no one tells students anymore that "This is excellent...and that is crap." One thing I agree with Howard Gardner about is the wisdom of teaching Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro in elementary school, as an exemplar of the Beautiful. Once you are attuned to Mozart, most pop music is repulsive.

Paris Review
"Nietzsche imagines the school system itself proclaiming to its students:
Take your language seriously! If you cannot feel a sacred duty here, then you have not even the seed of higher culture within you. How you handle your mother tongue reveals how much you respect art, or how little; how close an affinity you have for it. If certain words and turns of phrase habitual today do not inspire physical disgust, then abandon your pursuit of culture.”
So learning to write means learning to be physically repulsed by those less talented, or less fortunate in their teachers. The educated loathe the uneducated, the better educated loathe the less well educated, and the Truly Educated are subjected to a constant barrage of nausea from everybody else. Taste is concentrated in ever smaller, if “higher,” circles, and only a tiny few are Educated in the fullest sense. This dirty little secret is “the cardinal principle of education”:
No one would strive for education if they knew how unbelievably small the number of truly educated people actually was, or ever could be. But it is impossible to achieve even this small quota of truly educated people unless a great mass of people is tricked, seduced, into going against their nature and pursuing an education. As a result, we must never publicly betray the ridiculous disproportion between the number of truly educated people and the size of our monstrously overgrown educational system. That is the real secret of education: Countless people fight for it, and think they are fighting for themselves, but at bottom it is only to make education possible for a very few.
Just as capitalism produces increasingly concentrated wealth, education necessarily leads to a widening inequality of culture."

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