Our time is stigmatized by a decline in education and culture.
This is not exclusively the result of the State abandoning its responsibilities, it is also an unfortunate reflection of our present system.
Each field and domain requires so much information that there remains practically no time for any other science or subject. In two words, specialization has killed general culture, the foundation of knowledge.
Today, students are practically reduced to knowing a single subject, but they remain ignorant of those subjects that surround it. This is an aberration, as one cannot truly comprehend a subject if they don’t know what is next to it, what its relationship is to other disciplines.
In education today, certain materials so necessary to our understanding, essential to comprehension and intelligence,a are entirely suppressed.
Most discouraging however, is that education is no longer admired, culture is no longer studied. Today you learn to become a specialist, and you do so to make money and live a comfortable life. Education is no longer about enhancing yourself for the sake of knowledge and developing one’s mind. Ignorance is a great cause of our contemporary aberrations. The lack of knowledge and the lack of taste lead to a lack of direction.
What arises then is the personal initiative. Those that feel their education has failed them decide to take responsibility for themselves, and in doing so they find and create their own culture. Nowadays, thanks to the Internet, the individual has access to troves of information on just about any discipline or subject one might be interested it.
I know a number of young men and women who come from modest means who are monuments of culture and knowledge. Their personal curiosity has driven them towards History, Art, Science, and Religion. They travel and have a deep knowledge of contemporary society and are in many cases just as informed as the so called experts. It is deeply satisfying to see the contrast between their tender age and their vast understanding of our world. Their desire to learn has triumphed over any limitations or challenges they may have faced, and it is entirely a result of their own efforts.
History is my discipline, so I have observed it with interest.
When I studied, we learned history as a whole. Today history is cut up, compartmentalized. We learn disparate fragments, but not the whole. We learn chapters, but never finish the book. It is a massacre of History; children don’t understand anything and so they are no longer interested.
Now History, far from being a dead science, is alive, and it changes every day. History does not stop yesterday, it continues into the present and informs the future. History is necessary to know your country, your culture, and most fundamentally yourself. Without History we are all in darkness.
Of course, the present is not merely a faithful reproduction of the past, but the past does create the environment and the context of our present, it provides all the elements.
I have found that it is only by penetrating the mysteries of the past that I become fully aware of myself in the present.
This massacre of History has many consequences, the most notable being the role it has played in cutting people off from their roots. Country, Tradition, and Custom, these words no longer have any meaning, people don’t recognize any symbols or signs of their nation. We live in a time of contrasts. Across Europe we see the reemergence of particularisms we believed long buried, such as in Flanders, Scotland, and Catalonia. At the same time, we are told that these particularisms, from which our roots are derived, are no longer valid and should no longer be accepted or taken seriously.
That is the dominant trend and influence in the West, to deny one’s roots. Perhaps it is a consequence of the European Union, which is itself without any roots. Some hold tightly too their roots, others deny them entirely, and in both cases these actions are exaggerated.
There is a danger in cutting people off from their roots and their heritage, we are removing the foundation of unity and solidarity.