The only notable exception were the Romans, who were more interested in practical skills than abstract thought. Cicero, the Roman statesman, orator, and educator famously said “the investigation of nature seeks to find out either things which nobody can know or things which nobody needs to know.” Roman educational ideology encouraged politics, military, law, oratory, statesmanship, entertainment (the gladiatorial “games”), and the supernatural.
The Roman attitude toward education demonstrates that social forces can deter our evolution and lead us into darkness.
The Dark Ages were arguably a consequence of the Roman social suppression of reason and rampancy of superstition and Holy Men, who claimed to have supernatural power, and whose followers were promised a better afterlife.
Americans can learn a lesson from the Romans. If the education of the next generation falls into the hands of the parents – many of whom are either uneducated or illiterately educated – our children may grow up to become entrepreneurs, entertainers, billionaires, athletes, and politicians at best, and gun slinging bigots at worst. Either way, they will lack the education necessary for our evolution!
UNESCO and Bernie Sanders have a point in calling for free education: If education drives our evolution, it must be part of our biological requirement; and like shelter, health, and food, it becomes one of the essentials for the survival of our species. And to avoid a repetition of the Dark Ages, politics and ideologies should become subordinate to education.
Education, boundless education, lifelong education, is a right for all human beings, and governments are responsible for providing this right.