LETTER TO THE EDITOR - The enemies are crude ideology and the nanny state
to THE AUSTRALIAN
Paul Morrisey’s subtly articulated advocacy of a return to ‘a more liberal approach to education’ (‘We need an education in wisdom, not specious buzzwords’, 13/10) is welcome for its insistence on the importance of vision and respect for the primacy of wisdom in the promotion of a truly generous, diverse and free national education. He is right to warn against the over-influence of ‘the bureaucratic state’ and to favour an approach of ‘overseeing and enabling’ rather than ‘controlling and enforcing’, especially as regards the secondary and tertiary sectors.
The pursuit of wisdom requires more than refinement of reasoning. Supra-rational modes of achieving understanding need to be adopted: intuition, conscience, inspiration, contemplation, even ‘second sight’. As Josef Pieper noted in his 1952 book ‘Leisure the Basis of Culture’, both teachers and students need to develop a philosophical attitude ‘which presupposes silence, a contemplative attention to things’ and adequate leisure time. The enemies are crude ideology and the nanny state.
NJ, Belgrave, Vic