The two goals of knowing self and knowing reality are foundational in education, explains a Catholic teacher writing for Crisis Magazine.
Steven Jonathan Rummelsburg writes that these ends of education have “suffered tortuously.” Students are cultivating “pride instead of humility” and believing in themselves when they “ought to believe in the truth.” He continues:
There has been a universal shift away from the traditional sources of understanding—from the objective standard to the subjective self. Chesterton’s sane espousal of tradition, of the “democracy of the dead,” has been replaced by the monarchy of self, which has dissolved into the “dictatorship of relativism” where pathological considerations greedily consume both reason and character. The psychologists and teachers now ask their patients and students to turn to the mirror, to think for themselves and to believe in themselves, in order to understand reality and to obtain self-knowledge. We are no longer educating and healing human souls, we are using techniques to fabricate human “cogs” whose role model is the mirror gazing Narcissus…
Blessed John Paul II reminds us that “God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.” Our habits of mind and soul ought to correspond with our deepest human desires to know and love truth, goodness and beauty by way of knowing God; and this truth ought to be reflected in the education we provide for our children.
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