“All of life is a constant education” Eleanor Roosevelt

Baroness Valentine

I am extremely honoured to have been made a fellow of Birkbeck University recently.

Birkbeck makes an important contribution by providing evening study which enables people to run a home or do a job at the same time as taking a degree. Birkbeck also encourages people without traditional qualifications to get involved.

Here are four relevant quotations:

“Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in” Leonardo Da Vinci, the illegitimate child of a peasant with no formal schooling

“A University should be a place of light, of liberty and of learning” Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli

“All of life is a constant education” Eleanor Roosevelt

and lastly,

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” Nelson Mandela


4 comments for ““All of life is a constant education” Eleanor Roosevelt

  1. Gareth Howell
    16/11/2013 at 8:42 am

    One 19thC Mathematician I have been reading of, might have been grateful for Birckbeck, since he had great difficulty passing exams. His father wa s a schoomaster, who encouraged all the other pupils first, so failing exams was for him a way of continuing to enjoy maths (his father loved him really)
    He took exams to teach maths in primary school and then had to take exams to teach in high school… and so on and so forth. His name was not lauded in his day but he was more recently acknowledged as one of the makers of modern mathematics. Know what!I can’t remember his name! A re-search may later reveal all.

    Pleasure in learning for me, does not reside in attending courses or getting degrees. It is an end in itself. Most, if not all, of the mathematicians, in history, were driven by the desire to know more, to find out what makes the world work, a passion for ideas.

  2. MilesJSD
    18/11/2013 at 8:57 pm

    Lord Lindsay tried to restore the essential all-roundness of learning in a university, by founding Keele University to have four years.
    The first year of three terms was for a wide overview of the Three Faculties, of Arts, Humanities, Sciences;
    after which the new student would be asked to decide 5 subjects,
    2 majors and 3 supportive minors,
    with at least one subject from each of the 3 Faculties
    (so, you could have two majors and one minor from one faculty as long as the remaining two minors were from the other two faculties).

    Alas! Big-Business “gloves-off” competition, and failure at higher and more power-mongering political levels, I am told caused Keele to drop that first year and fall into line with all the other universities, by “league-table” competitive (but not always constructively-so) specialist-focusing on a Workplace & Career-Ladder smaller bunch of subjects.
    There had also been attempts to clearly distinguish Training for a Career, from becoming lifelong educated for Life-Itself rather than for an Employer-Dictated Career-Ladder-Climbing-‘Blinkered’-Expertise.
    One such came when a small group of older professors faced a public audience wanting to know about ‘prestigious careers’, to which they averred:
    “You can become the best doctor or the best lawyer in the World, or both,
    without any education whatsoever !”.

    When challenged, they simply advised
    “All you need is to have the right and best Training; and then the right and best Job-Placements, at the right times.
    Then you can easily become ‘the best professional in the World’
    without ever becoming Educated”.

    • Gareth Howell
      23/11/2013 at 2:41 pm

      “You can become the best doctor or the best lawyer in the World, or both,
      without any education whatsoever !”.

      Einstein; Jefferson and so on.

  3. MilesJSD
    18/11/2013 at 8:59 pm

    Only this past week I watched some of the Commons Youth Parliament;
    but although it reached a majority in favour of
    (1) a (presumably, university-) curriculum-for-life
    (by a small margin just over 100 votes); and
    (2) the vote in all public elections for 16 to 17 year olds
    (by well over 200 votes to the only other contestant’s “Jobs for the Young” mere 70 odd)
    even the most convincing performances were marred by conflating “Career” with “Life”.

    (“)The only way to “get anywhere” and succeed in “Life” is to get both a good degree and therewith plenty of “Decent-Job” Experience (“).
    We might note how your quotes-authors might today word them:
    Leonardo da Vinci might have said “Study without all-round-integration with Life Itself – imprisons both heart and mind”.
    Disraeli might say “A University should be a place of all-round learning, and thereby be a place of light and of co-constructive liberty”.
    Eleanor Roosevelt possibly would say “Whilst university training is essential for a Job in a Workplace, it is the Lifeplace that provides opportunities for lifelong Education”.
    Nelson Mandela surely would now choose to substitute the word “tool” for his “weapon”; even
    Education is the most powerful institution which you can use to improve the World”.
    Kindly allow me to suggest extra-mural visits to any of the following not-for-profiteering & not-for-profit, already-paid-for-out-of-taxes, ‘in-support-of-both-sustain-abilities and sustain-worthinesses longest-of-longterms’ :-
    http://www.earth2.co ;
    http://www.new-wwwww.net ;
    http://www.lifefresh.co.uk ;
    http://www.shammmo.net ;
    http://www.me-myself-and-aye.net .

    and of course Miles JSD’s contributions to http://lordsoftheblog.net since May 2010.

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