For the holidays, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes, which is by Benjamin Franklin:
Genius without education is like silver in the mine.
And because all grand thoughts are timeless, they must re-appear in an eternal return.
So this quote, too, must have antecedents. Let’s work backwards in time, to savor even more of the same wisdom:
First stop: Song Dynasty
From my daughter, who is currently reciting the 13th-century Sanzi Jing (the Three-character Classic, a Confucian poem-treatise), I hear the beautifully rhythmic:
Which means (Number 7 here):
Jade that has not been polished
cannot be used.
[a] Person who has not studied
cannot know righteousness.
Second stop: Rome
By Rome I mean Latin. Let’s see: to educate = ex-ducere = to lead out
Lead out? As in: get out what is already there, as in silver or jade? Where might that idea have come from?
Third stop: Socrates
We haven’t talked about Socrates for a while here on The Hannibal Blog. (Here are all my old posts about him. He is not in my book, by the way).
The old man had his own silver/jade/education theory: He called it (in the Meno and Phaedo) “anamnesis”. And he demonstrated it by … helping a slave to remember (= “teaching”) that the blue square below has twice the area of the yellow square:
And now for Kluthian axiom number whatchammacallit:
It’s in there. Get it out.