Harvard asked me to comment on how my Classics degree had shaped my business. Here’s my short reply: bit.ly/XAdyxG Tip of the iceberg
— Tim O’Reilly (@timoreilly) January 23, 2013
One of the few paper magazines I purchase is the American issue of Wired.
The most recent edition (January 2013) has a piece about the publisher Tim O’ Reilly with the byline “The tech mogul has always seen the future coming before the rest of us” (full article by Steven Levy here).
What I found most interesting though is that O’ Reilly is a Classics graduate.
I am interested in the Classics because one of my children has an inspirational Classics teacher who makes the subject come to life. In that particular school (not a private one) there is always a Classics class at Senior Cycle and a number of past pupils-have gone on to study Classics in Irish and British Universities.
What is the value of Classics in a world that sometimes seems to value the immediacy of technology over the value of reflection on life?
O’Reilly answers the question on the Harvard Arts and Humanities site (here).
For him “ The classics are part of my mental toolset, the context I think with.”
Critical thinking has never been so important. We are faced with endless possibilities for consumption of knowledge and have fallen into various traps including an examination system that values product over process.
All subjects hold possibilities for thought. Education reform however must hold on to subjects like the Classics to allow multidimensional thought within society.
I celebrate Classics teachers who lead children astray into realms of adventure, myth and symbolism.These children will in time lead us on journeys of value whatever the discipline they choose to contribute to society in.
Photo: Europeana Diogenes gestures to Alexander.