Friday, July 28, 2006

Who were those masked folks?

...when Europe was stagnating in the so-called Dark Ages, the world was actually bright with a civilization more closely akin to what we have in America [in 1953 A.D.] than anything that had gone before. Thirty generations of human beings who believed in personal freedom created that civilization and kept it going for 800 years. ...these people ...included Buddhists, Christians, Moslems, Jews, Hindus, Mongolians, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Armenians, Persians, Medes, Arabs, Greeks, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Hittites, Africans, and hundreds of others... authority suppressed scientists, and no policeman harried them - nor did any government take care of them. They opened schools; ...students flocked to them. Some of these schools grew into great universities, and for hundreds of years they continued to grow.

Learning versus Teaching

The Xxxxxxx universities had no formal organization --Xxxxxxxx [religious founder] contended that too much organization leads to corruption. The rules were few. There were no standardized programs, no regular curriculums, no examinations. To guard against the fallacious idea that education ends with graduation, the Xxxxxxxx' schools granted no diplomas, no degrees. They were institutions, not of teaching, but of learning. Students went there to acquire knowledge, just as Americans go to grocery stores to buy [1] food.

Classes were held on an open-house basis. Anyone in quest of knowledge was free to wander about and listen. If he decided to remain, he picked a teacher and privately discussed with him what he wanted to learn and what he should study, and they agreed upon a fee. If, after joining the class, he didn't get the knowledge he wanted, he stopped paying the teacher and went to another teacher or another university. When he had learned what he thought he ought to know, he quit school and put his new knowledge to practical test.

For 800 years, the Xxxxxxxx' schools and universities proceeded on the principle of freedom -- on the basis of voluntary agreement between teacher and student. They offered all the learning of the past, with special emphasis on scientific knowledge. -H.G. Weaver, The Mainspring of Human Progress, (Irvington-on-Hudson, NY: Foundation for Economic Education, 1953) pg. 104


[1] This chapter is based mainly on information gathered by Rose Wilder Lane, whose researches include personal contacts among remnants of former Xxxxxxxic tribes. Almost everything in it should be in quotes, except that I have taken liberties in condensing Mrs. Lane's original text. return

Who were those masked folks? Find out here.


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