It would be a worthy achievement if we could get a decent understanding of παιδεία

By using a Greek word for a Greek thing, I intend to imply that it is seen with the eyes, not of modern men, but of the Greeks. It is impossible to avoid bringing in modern expressions like civilization, culture, tradition, literature, or education.

Paideia is notoriously challenging to translate. That meme of “Based University” from yesterday reminded me I’ve been meaning to give it a try, because the standard translation is “education”. It’s distinct from how we see it though because it means “cultured”, an aristocratic education.

Here I will be drawing on Jaeger who H takes as a philological authority. Some days H’s “prosetry” sounds like pure gobbledygook and today is one of those days.

Jaeger seeks to explain the unique educational genius which is responsible for the brainiacs and artistes that the Hellenes are known for. So paideia is the “proto-Academy” of Plato in a sense.

This is a mind-blowing concept

the Greeks themselves as the paideia of mankind.

What education meant to the educatORS.

I know I’m just stirring up trouble, i.e. cue the C4’d Parthenon from the anti-intellectual left.

This study was written in 1933 and the latter part of the following statement is “”arguably”” less true today

our history still begins with the Greeks. I have therefore called our own group of nations Hellenocentric.

παιδεία seems like just the concept needed to reverse the backwater Pale superstitiousness and wailing babushka weltanschauung.

This nobility could almost make one shed a tear

It was the creation of a higher type of man. They believed that education embodied the purpose of all human effort.

Jaeger says they saw παιδεία as the summit of their society.

The vision of Augustus was rooted in παιδεία, so that’s how we got the great Roman poets in the first place.

Now now Jaeger, let’s not be bigoted here

In this vague analogical sense it is permissible to talk of Chinese, Indian, Babylonian, Jewish or Egyptian culture, although none of these nations has a word or an ideal which corresponds to real culture.

Not wrong. The most convoluted Kabbalah texts I’ve read at least are not Aristotle.

Imagine thinking of “social justice culture” as culture… Give me a break. Please stay in your special ed. room and keep everyone else out of it. We’re working on making it soundproof so we don’t have to hear the babushkas wail through the walls.

Tough to deny this in my opinion

Other nations made gods, kings, spirits: the Greeks alone made men.

The real and genuine human nature. Not the inherently anti-intellectual physis the Jerusalemites mold people into.

Hmm I can jive with this definition

Culture is simply the aristocratic ideal of a nation, increasingly intellectualized.

What’s the aristocratic ideal of our nation? Be nice? Except to first-worlders? Really shooting for the gold there. I want to bite out a throat when I think about this stuff. People are so numb they don’t even care how low our ideals are here.

Anyway, etymologically speaking, παιδεία appeared for the first time in the 5th century BC, and it originally meant child-rearing. Over the years it developed out of that to a loftier meaning.

You might have heard of the word arete? Excellence? Jaeger says that was the quintessence of aristocratic education in the early days.

a combination of proud and courtly morality with warlike valour.

Can’t have that in a relativistic zeitgeist that honors timidity and obsequiousness, non-judgment, tolerance, etc.

This is just arete as it occurs in Homer though, before its true developments.

More like 9/10ths in modern day America

ordinary men have no arete; and whenever slavery lays hold of the son of a noble race, Zeus takes away half of his arete

So how about after Homer? It’s Achilles’ valour and bravery and Odysseus’ cleverness arete evolves from.

It’s interesting how these concepts connect up

For the Greeks, beauty meant nobility also… But what did Aristotle mean by the beautiful? … he was thinking chiefly of acts of moral heroism.

For Aristotle it’s a love of oneself that leads one to sacrifice oneself for a higher ideal. And this is a striving for beauty which is also nobility.

Zooming out now, what’s in question here is still the “Based University”, and it isn’t simply one discipline that we are trying to define. It’s the university itself, the spirit that should be behind all the disciplines. Is Aristotle right? Well, some thinkers have developed his thought some in the last 2300 so years. This is just the beginning of παιδεία and what its telos should be.

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