Philosophy is the root of education. Without the schools created by Plato and Aristotle (both based on Pythagoras) we would not have Western education. We owe our entire wealth of knowledge—and reason itself, for that matter—to its edifice. And yet, something has happened to education lately, hasn’t it?
Education has lost the mystery it once held, traded it for economy. As long as something is useful, it is heralded as virtuous. How did utility and virtue come to be equated? How did they become synonymous? They mean different things. On the one hand, utility sounds sterile. It is results-driven. It quantifies without considering quality. Virtue, on the other hand, is venerable, holy, sacred. It qualifies all that we do. Without virtue we are nothing. We are animals. Without virtue we may as well bend the knee to all tyrants, both spiritual and physical; we may as well throw down our weapons and accept the heavy bonds of slavery forevermore.
Contemporary philosophy unfortunately is a perversion of its former glory. No longer are we gathered at the feet of Plato to hear of his Forms. Instead we are discussing banalities. Pro-life vs. pro-choice. Capitalism vs. Communism. Teleology vs. Deontology. Philosophy departments across the nation (and presumably the world) are turning out a new breed of professional philosopher, so far removed from the anti-materialist sentiments of Pythagoras, Socrates and Plato that we should not even consider the two of the same species.
Perhaps what I am looking for is the religious philosopher. I am in search of a modern Hegel. The question is: where did such men go? Have they all been subsumed by the age of economic reductionism? Are they too busy trying to maintain their positions as adjunct professors to care about anything as silly as virtue? Have they all become dreaded Last Men? This extends further than Philosophy; take education in general. What does it do, other than serve the interests of ultra-wealthy investors? It functions only to create a perennial slave-class. The qualifying factor of education has been lost. Its virtue has gone missing.
I long for a return to learning simply for its own sake. Who can put a price on developing one’s rational nature? Is there any activity on which we can bestow more honor? If there is any duty one has to himself, it is that of education. Knowledge, though it may be a fruit which is forbidden, is always worthy of pursuit. It is an opposing force of Capitalism. Capitalism requires cheap labor to keep itself afloat, and intelligence runs counter to servility. It’s only a matter of time before the entire world is educated to the point of acute self-awareness. Following that awareness will be social revolution. Thus the Dialectic marches forth.
How can we begin to transform education in Western nations? We have allowed her to be defiled. She has been demoted from goddess to whore. She now serves the interests of the global elite. How can she again be sanctified? Who will cleanse her altar, and how?
The clock is ticking. It’s up to us.