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Shvoong Home>Books>Studies In Humanities Review

Studies In Humanities

Book Review   by:marvz     Original Author: Jose S. Arcilla S.J.
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One common concern today is the improvement of our education. political crisis and economic problems are apprently part of our human condition, but we can always solve these. To neglect however, our schools everything these imply is social suicide. Basic, of course, is what we understand by "education?" It is more than just teaching, or sharing information with the young. Our modern computers can do this better.
An Italian scholar recently warned against under-estimating our youth today, and concluding they do not want to be educated and formed. They do, but they need adults to initiate, introduce, and inspire them to be the best they can be. They need people to accompany them on this journey to human perfection. The late Pope John Paul II saidthe yputh need adults who ar e"perpetually overwhelmed by the nobility and dignity of the human person".
These are big words, big ideals. These have already been expressed by the 16-yea-old graduate of Ateneo, Jose Rizal, who wrote the studying Cicero, Virgil and other classical authors elevated his mind and open his to a "new path he could follow".
Cicero used the word "urbanity", faintky echoed in the classes we now call "Values Education". Unlike the rustic, the urbane man has developed attitudes born of the study of cultural traditionsof ancient learning carries himself with aplomb in any social situation, is discrete, never gives in to extremes, is always with an unerring senseof fairness and justice. He has an open mind and a courageous heart that push him on toward beauty and order.
Another word the Latins, especially Cicero, used was "temperantia" or modestia". To be temperate is to know there are always limits to earthly thingsand deeds. Temperantia, then, is not neccessarily "temperance", in the sense that we either eschew or severly regulate our drink, but rather "decorum" or the sense of easthetic propriety in each situation and in one''s behavior.
This is the opposite of supercilious behavior, best seen when one totally overlooks or dismiss the opinion of someone else. A virtuous man never offends, even when contradicting another opinion. Human society presupposes intelligent cooperation, what Jose Rizal called "transigencia", the opposite of intrasigence, the ability to give and take, not in substantials, but in accidentals. For sensitive Filipinos, this demands constant self-discipline. That we have failed to put on this virtue is proven by the number of political partiesthat have split into, because one has not been included in the party''s list of candidates.
Notice that we have not mentionedany of the traditional classroom "subjects" found in the class manuals and easily memorized. We are talking of the proper human outlook. A Greek phrase sums up this program, "kalos kay agathos, " the beautiful combined with the good, the profitable, the useful.
This demands planning, looking to the future, possible only with proper sense of priorities, or a hierarchy of functions. And, of course, to the ancient Greeks, to plan is to divide in orderly parts, "diairesis". And true pedagogy is the progressive release from barbarity and chaos.
one is the truly human liveswithout any trace of selfishness. As the Babylonian Talmud puts it, "If I am not responsible for myself,whois? If I am responsible only for myself, am i still myself?" What, then, should we expect from our education?
Published: September 08, 2007   
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