Good personal values – The objective of education

Education today sets out to achieve so many things. This includes turning out young people who can make good decisions for themselves.

Good personal values to live by

The excerpt is from the Greek sophist Gorgias who dwells on the qualities that make great men great in this funeral oration. I think it has something for us today. The style is grandiose and ornate while still very succinct. Gorgias was the teacher of among others, Pericles, and was later made fun of in Plato’s dialogue bearing his name.

Gorgias wrote this about 2500 years ago. One of the overall objectives of education is to make civilised citizens. To shape them into adults who can make good decisions for themselves and who will fit into society.

The skill-sets people need in life are manifold and include good personal values. Education and how to shape kids into responsible adults capable of making balanced and well-reasoned judgments is a topic that does not get old and the art of being an upstanding citizen is largely unchanging.

“Often they set gentle equity above stubborn justice, often rightness of argument above strictness of law, believing this the most divine and most universal law, to say and do and leave undone what was due at the right moment; They practiced above all two things men should, mind and might, the one in deliberation, the other in execution, tenders of those in undeserved distress, chastisers of those in undeserved success, stubborn in accordance with expediency, good tempered in accordance with propriety, with wisdom of mind checking the folly of might, insolent towards the insolent, restrained towards the restrained, fearless against the fearless, terrible among the terrible.”

Epitaphios (funeral oration)

Gorgias of Leontini 427 BC

Lysias, Selected Speeches Translation by C. Carey Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1983, p7

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