Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pay Attention, Kids -- Romans Go Home

Anyone remember "Life of Brian"?

The Centaurian John Cleese forces a Latin graffiti politico to correct his case endings. In anti-Roman slogans on a stone wall. 100 times, I seem to remember, and then the dissident is dragged off to prison.

Put two familiar lessons together that are usually kept apart, and you might learn something. The trick is finding the right two lessons and deciding what is really worth learning.

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

How important is it that kids learn Latin and about the culture that used it? Is the language really dead that reveals concepts applicable to every century?

The recent New York Times article asks us to revisit what we learn (and how we teach it) by likening the current financial crisis to the fall of Rome.

If only bankers had studied ancient culture differently (or at all, even), maybe none of this would never have happened. How much history do they teach in business school anyway?

Doomed to Repeat Ourselves?

Contemporary cultures too often treat the peoples who lived before them with a condescension that only comes from ignorance.

Progress is inevitable, right? We must have learned a tremendous amount in the centuries since the ancients invaded, stayed, and fell over themselves in England. How could we not?

The New York Times begs to differ. Understand cultural history -- yours, those around you, and the ways they are connected. Make it a priority in schools. It's as important as cutting bankers' bonuses if we want to move away from past mistakes. Big, big ones.

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