Saturday, 19 March 2011


This is Rosie, a wonderful little girl, who is probably as smart as the other three dogs put together, and certainly the only interesting item on today's blog.

Toad is reading a book first published in 1964, called 'Essays of a Humanist.' It is by Julian Huxley, brother of Aldous, grandson of Thomas Henry. An outstanding egghead in a family of outstanding eggheads.
What strikes Toad most though, is the blatant optimism. Surely, by 1964, nobody thought things were ever going to be all right from then on?
Julian Huxley was an optimist. He thought that, as we got older, as we got to know more scientific stuff, we would evolve into being nicer, and wiser and kinder.
How wrong could he be? Oh well.
One of the chapters is called 'Education and Humanism.' In it, Huxley, quotes another egghead, Prof. Elvin, who thought that, “A tribal boy's education may be a better preparation for life in a tribal society than is our education for life in our vaunted technological society.”

Well, Doh! Stating the bleeding obvious, was, no doubt, any reader's first impulse. All education is, in some form, tribal. Nobody can dispute that. It works by carrying on traditions. Can be facts, can also be total prejudices.

And there can be problems. Toad has just emerged from a slight balls-up on the Catholic site he keeps his beady eye on. One of the contributors, (Toad 'misremembered' which one) some weeks ago, bemoaned the fact that she had - at massive expense, no doubt - decided that her son would not get his head stuffed with the usual secular, run-of-the mill, nonsense. Instead she opted for top-of-the-line Catholic nonsense, at Downside Abbey, no less - the Catholic version of Eton, if such a scary concept could exist.
To her understandable horror and chagrin, the school duly stuffed the lad's head with nonsense as ordered, but entirely the wrong kind!
They stuffed him full of atheist, nihilist, nonsense!
Infinitely more pernicious than any other kind of nonsense!
When Toad heard this originally, he was amused, but now he is sympathetic, and thinks that the lady in question has grounds for suing the venerable institution. We are entitled to the nonsense we pay for and expect!
Once a head is stuffed with any kind of nonsense, substitution is by no means an easy task. One can only wait and hope that nature will take its course and in due time the bad nonsense will work its inevitable way through the system and be evacuated, freeing up a space for more acceptable nonsense.
In the meantime, the lawyers can roll up their sleeves and start charging...

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