The Trouble with Modern Education

Sep 12, 2013

This from Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh:

“The trouble with modern education is you never know how ignorant people are. With anyone over fifty you can be fairly confident what's been taught and what's been left out. But these young people have such an intelligent, knowledgeable surface, and then the crust suddenly breaks and you look down into depths of confusion you didn't know existed.” 

And this: 

“He wasn't a complete human being at all. He was a tiny bit of one, unnaturally developed; something in a bottle, an organ kept alive in a laboratory. I thought he was a sort of primitive savage, but he was something absolutely modern and up-to-date that only this ghastly age could produce. A tiny bit of a man pretending to be whole.” 

And this: 

"Hooper was no romantic. He had not as a child ridden with Rupert's hourse or sat among the camp fires at Xanthus-side; at the age when my eyes were dry to all save poetry–that stoic, red-skin interlude which our schools introduce between the fast-flowing tears of the child and the man–Hooper had wept often, but never for Henry's speech on St. Crispin's Day, nor for the epitaph at Thermopylae. The history they taught him had had few battles in it but, instead, a profusion of detail about humane legislation and recent industrial change. Gallipoli, Balaclavam Quebec, Lepanto, Bannockburn, Ronecevales, and Marathon – these, and the Battle in the West where Arthur fell, and a hundred such names whose trumpet-notes, even now in my sere and lawless state, called me to irresistibly acrss the intervening years with all the clarity and strength of boyhood, sounded in vain to Hooper." 

David Kern

David Kern

David is director of our multimedia initiatives (podcast host, web-content manager, magazine editor, etc). He often writes about film, television, books, and other culture-related topics, and has been published by Christ and Pop Culture, Think Christian, Relevant, and elsewhere.  David and his wife, Bethany, have three young boys and they live in Concord, NC. 

The opinions and arguments of our contributing writers do not necessarily reflect those of the Institute or its leadership.

Subscribe to the CiRCE Institute Podcast Network

Stitcher iTunes RSS