Monday, January 12, 2009

The Oxford English Syllabus

The Oxford English Syllabus states that humanity, when not referring to human kindness, is the “realization of the human identity” where the goal of life is to pursue the “leisured activities of thought, art, literature, and conversation”.  In this definition of humanity a difference can be drawn between education and learning, which results in the separation of three types of people:  those that work to live, those that live to work, and those who don’t bother to work. 

The person that works to live is the learner.  It is this personality that uses education to learn.  Although education is a structured system used by teachers to inject digested information into a student’s brain the learner works through this to focus on gaining knowledge.  He recognizes the need to support himself in a career but does not use his education to earn a diploma and thus a good job.  Instead his education is merely a means by which he can acquire a career by which the can continue living and learning.  Basically the knowledge gained from his education is much more important than the education or diploma itself. 

All people seem to start out with the learning mentality as children.  We all had vividly wild imaginations and some of us can still remember the excitement of learning something even anything new.  A tragedy happens, however, between high school and college where we cease to focus on knowledge and instead work to succeed.   We become those that live to work and pursue the good grades, diploma, and job in an impossible attempt to satisfy our needs.  Our education thus becomes vocational training “for slaves” as the Oxford English Syllabus puts so tenderly and archaically.   However harsh and old the statement seems, it is true that those pursuing education for the sake of a job and diploma become enslaved.  They are enslaved to their ever-unsatisfied want for more material wealth.

The third type of person, the sloth, is the most despicable.  While one that lives to work can be redeemed at any time in his or her life simply through switching the focus to a learning mentality, the sloth cannot.  He is an animal because he is content with always learning processed information like the cow, which is compelled to eat grass, chew cud, and sleep.   The animal makes no effort to go beyond his teacher’s instructions and will not problem solve on his own.  It is not that he does not have the ability to learn but that he has become so lazy that he will not learn.  He is a waste of a mind.

There are three types of people, the learners- those that work to live, the educated – those that live to work, and the animals- those that are too lazy to even think.  Although all are forced, by nature, to work for survival, each approaches his work in a different way.  The learners relish the knowledge and will prize the truth above all other things even in the pursuit of their vocation.  The educated recognize the importance of truth but focus upon knowledge as a means to acquire a job.   The animals inflict mental mediocrity on themselves, always accept whatever is spoon fed to them, and become too dumb to recognize the truth if it slapped them in the face. 

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