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Monday, September 23, 2013

Education As Tradition

  Karl Theodor Körner

... and Education, and tradition in education, too.

Intelligent beings have the ability to believe, but they also have the ability to believe just about anything, no matter how benign or malign, pedestrian or outrageous, rational or utterly fantastic. The entire process of sensing, discovery, cognition, recall, processing, and establishment of hardened systems of belief unfortunately have no absolute methods of winnowing the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.

We may believe in angels dancing upon pin heads as easily as fluctuations within a quantum vacuum.

So also may we believe in Freedom or Tyranny.

Consider Prussia and Germany, of which we read in the early 19th century:
The life-blood of Germany was never roused nor quickened with greater impetus, than when the old fatherland sprung to arms to assert its rights against the tyrannical sway of France, towards the close of the first Napoleon's career. For years she had groaned under the sway; but repeated defeats had taught her to succumb to the oppression which it seemed impossible to resist.

Hope at last gleamed upon her from the lights of burning Moscow, and in 1813 she rose, determined to throw off the yoke. In thus vindicating her outraged rights, she was nobly supported by the intellect and genius, as well as military prowess of her sons. The stirring lectures of Fichte, and the martial lyrics of Körner, were no less effective towards the liberation of their country than the valour and strategical skill of Lützow and Blucher.
Today is the birthday of  Karl Theodor Körner, to whom reference is made. He died in 1813 having fought for German freedom, written poetic lyrics to that cause, and honored so by all Germany.
(Not Karl Körner of the Waffen SS; if you google this name, include the "Theodor".)

Within 120 years the Nazi party came to power in 1933.
Within that space of 4 generations, how great a change!

Great discoveries such as the exaltation of Freedom over Slavery and Servitude need become Tradition and the new generations must be taught such truths, along with the truths of science, math, and ethics; the young must be exposed to the arts of Freedom and Respect for one's fellows along with literature, poetry, dancing, music, and the plastic arts.

When Faith, Hope, and Charity are lost, when love of freedom and respect for humanity is in eclipse, there are no remedial courses in our school of life... except for that college of hard knocks of the most grisly type.

Tevye, der Milchiger (the Milkman), was designed to show us the importance of tradition, and the fact that Tradition must be comprehended by the old and passed on to the young. Tradition is like Simcha Torah: the Law must be read  in the language that must first be taught by the learned to the young; then it may be passed down as a gift from generation to generation, and become alive again in the hearts of mankind.

And all our days may be zeman simchateynu; the season of our joy!


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