Friday, 28 December 2012

False optimism

I gave "Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half Forgotten Europe" by Oxford Professor, Norman Davies, to family members for Christmas.

His thesis is that nations are fragile worlds that can suddenly disappear through wrong politics and/or weak leaders. Think "Savoy", "Aragon", "Burgundy" "USSR"....

In Professor Davies's introduction to his book, he says, in summary, that “the barbarians have broken into the garden”.... 

He goes on to these points : most schoolchildren never read Homer and Virgil, receive no religious instruction; modern language teaching (in the UK) has come to a halt.  History teaching has to fight for reduced place behind IT and media studies. Young people learn in a cocoon filled with "false optimism". Unlike their parents and grandparents have no sense of “the pitiless passage of time”....

"False optimism" is also characteristic of much modern (so called) theology which seems to follow the post- modern agenda of "easy salvation". Perhaps modern society does not want to trouble children with: 

  • the pain of reality 
  • moral duties 
  • the need to fail and try again 
  • being incurable
  • endurance and perseverance
  • having no hope except in a "better world".

Perhaps children must remain children even as adults?

If so, I believe that we are guilty of leaving them to face the shocking consequences of lack of real understanding of life. 

Instead, in my view (and considering my own life history), we should be "arming them", giving them a world-view capable of overcoming adversity while remaining spiritually intact....

You can read the introduction to this book online (link above)
Also see video

1 comment:

  1. It is not easy being a young person in this decade. There is plenty of adversity and under-employment around and hard lessons to learn. I do not see much 'false optimism' in the two young men I meet on our allotments or in my nephew and older step-nephew. Rather, in the case of the former two, a sense of being neglected and written off. Let's do what we can, each in our own place.