Thursday, March 08, 2012

Values Inversion

So there I am, thinking about 'values-driven' education. And the man who is seriously talking about it mentions resilience, tenacity, integrity. All I can think of, it that one blinding flash of insight, is that he must be talking about hardened chewing-gum.

You can measure all three of these qualities quantitatively in a piece of hardened gum. You can evaluate them; that's why they're called values. But hardened chewing-gum has no virtue to it. It is a pestilence, an irritation, despite having resilience, tenacity and integrity. It has no justice, no compassion; it has no prudence, temperance, fortitude, faith, hope or charity.

That's because such qualities cannot be easily evaluated (if at all), and they need a live brain. They can be argued over, they can be tested and tried, but their right execution is an ideal that all societies think about at least once in their existence, and all good societies seek to imbue these characteristics in their members.

The problem with a values-driven education is the definition of values. And frankly, most people aren't very good at this.

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