Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Eduation and Motivation

  "The end then of learning is to repair the ruins of our first parents by regaining to know God aright, and out of that knowledge to love him, to imitate him, to be like him as we may the nearest by possessing our souls of true virtue, which, being united to the heavenly grace of faith , makes up the highest perfection."
-John Milton, Of Education


I'm attempting this semester to change, to some degree, my perspective on my education. It's become more of a chore than an opportunity, and my focus has shifted to simply surviving and just getting to the end rather than taking everything I can from the experience.

Why are we in school? Why do we learn? I'm sure all of us have similar motivations as well as individual ones. They're probably a mix of better and worse, some idealistic and beautiful, others made of necessity or obligation. I know all of us would love to have never piled up the debt from our time in school (fortunately finishing and English degree doesn't take 14 years of schooling like becoming a surgeon) but still we make the investment hoping to gain from it in some way. I wonder how often I really connect my educational investments with coming to better understand God and becoming like him.

As Milton speaks of different ways of reforming education I think of how I can change my own approach to the education I'm being given. Hopefully some day we can reach, in all things (or even one or two would be great) the purest motivations we can muster, even that as Milton so perfectly put, "no purpose or respect should sooner move us than simply the love of God and of mankind."


  1. www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_N7MAr98CI

    College is worth it! Debt aside, it's worth it (the link explains).

  2. Sometimes I wonder if higher education is merely our way of preserving the need to sweat in our white-bread world; I'm not sure I'm becoming any more Christlike through extensive education than an impoverished farmer in South America does through extensive labor. True, "whatever light and knowledge we gain here" etc., etc... but what if the knowledge we gain through a University education turns out to be so negligible as to be laughable when we look back from the other side of the veil. At any rate, I expect that the labor of gaining a university education is at least not inferior to manual labor in giving opportunity to imitate God; Jesus embodies both the master surgeon and good shepherd.

  3. I'm please to see this self-reflection and the critique of education generally (and some good points from you, too, Jake). That is much in the spirit of Milton and I hope to see more of this kind of thinking as the semester progresses.