Sunday, July 12, 2020 – Back To School

Nothing can illustrate these observations more forcibly, than a recollection of the happy conjuncture of times and circumstances, under which our Republic assumed its rank among the Nations; The foundation of our Empire was not laid in the gloomy age of Ignorance and Superstition, but at an Epoch when the rights of mankind were better understood and more clearly defined, than at any former period, the researches of the human mind, after social happiness, have been carried to a great extent, the Treasures of knowledge, acquired by the labors of Philosophers, Sages and Legislatures, through a long succession of years, are laid open for our use, and their collected wisdom may be happily applied in the Establishment of our forms of Government; the free cultivation of Letters, the unbounded extension of Commerce, the progressive refinement of Manners, the growing liberality of sentiment have had a meliorating influence on mankind and increased the blessings of Society. At this auspicious period, the United States came into existence as a Nation, and if their Citizens should not be completely free and happy, the fault will be entirely their own. ~ George Washington, Circular to the States, 8 June 1783

Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it. ~ Thomas Paine

Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives. ~ James Madison

The philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation is the philosophy of government in the next. ~ Abraham Lincoln

Nothing in education is so astonishing as the amount of ignorance it accumulates in the form of inert facts. ~ Henry Adams

Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong. ~ Thomas Jefferson

History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes. ~ Thomas Jefferson, letter to Alexander von Humboldt, 6 December, 1813

Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly. ~ Isaac Asimov

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than it does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science. ~ Charles Darwin

Beware the man of a single book. ~ Thomas Aquinas

He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career. ~ George Bernard Shaw, Major Barbara

All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure. ~ Mark Twain

I’ve been making a list of the things they don’t teach you at school. They don’t teach you how to love somebody. They don’t teach you how to be famous. They don’t teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don’t teach you how to walk away from someone you don’t love any longer. They don’t teach you how to know what’s going on in someone else’s mind. They don’t teach you what to say to someone who’s dying. They don’t teach you anything worth knowing. ~ Neil Gaiman

Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout his or her school life is something like this: “You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are more robust and individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself, educating your own judgements. Those that stay must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being molded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society.” ~ Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook

School has become the world religion of a modernized proletariat, and makes futile promises of salvation to the poor of the technological age. ~ Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society

The most erroneous assumption is to the effect that the aim of public education is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence, and so make them fit to discharge the duties of citizenship in an enlightened and independent manner. Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else. ~ H. L. Mencken

School days, I believe, are the unhappiest in the whole span of human existence. They are full of dull, unintelligible tasks, new and unpleasant ordinances, brutal violations of common sense and common decency. It doesn’t take a reasonably bright boy long to discover that most of what is rammed into him is nonsense, and that no one really cares very much whether he learns it or not. ~ H. L. Mencken

I should have liked to be asked to say what I knew. They always tried to ask what I did not know. When I would have willingly displayed my knowledge, they sought to expose my ignorance. This sort of treatment had only one result: I did not do well in examinations. ~ Winston S. Churchill

But there are advantages to being elected President. The day after I was elected, I had my high school grades classified Top Secret. ~ Ronald Reagan

It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have. ~ James A. Baldwin

I know of no time in human history where ignorance was better than knowledge. ~ Neil deGrasse Tyson

I’m not dumb. I just have a command of thoroughly useless information. ~ Bill Watterson

Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance. ~ George Bernard Shaw

Ignorance is the softest pillow on which a man can rest his head. ~ Michel de Montaigne

The authority of those who teach is often an obstacle to those who want to learn. ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition. ~ Jacques Barzun

All I know is just what I read in the papers, and that’s an alibi for my ignorance. ~ Will Rogers

Where ignorance is bliss it’s foolish to borrow your neighbor’s newspaper. ~ Kin Hubbard

We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. ~ H. P. Lovecraft

It is not ignorance but knowledge which is the mother of wonder. ~ Joseph Wood Krutch

Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. ~ H. L. Mencken

Not ignorance, but ignorance of ignorance, is the death of knowledge. ~ Alfred North Whitehead

A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep. ~ Saul Bellow

If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them. ~ Isaac Asimov

Ignorance is the soil in which belief in miracles grows. ~ Robert Green Ingersoll

He was distinguished for ignorance; for he had only one idea, and that was wrong. ~ Benjamin Disraeli

Now I believe I can hear the philosophers protesting that it can only be misery to live in folly, illusion, deception and ignorance, but it isn’t – it’s human. ~ Desiderius Erasmus

My relationships with my cats have saved me from a deadly, pervasive ignorance. ~ William S. Burroughs

In a sense, words are encyclopedias of ignorance because they freeze perceptions at one moment in history and then insist we continue to use these frozen perceptions when we should be doing better. ~ Edward de Bono

The prejudices of ignorance are more easily removed than the prejudices of interest; the first are all blindly adopted, the second willfully preferred. ~ George Bancroft

It is fortunate that each generation does not comprehend its own ignorance. We are thus enabled to call our ancestors barbarous. ~ Charles Dudley Warner

Without education, we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously. ~ G. K. Chesterton

Ignorance, when voluntary, is criminal, and a man may be properly charged with that evil which he neglected or refused to learn how to prevent. ~ Samuel Johnson, The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia