Catholic classical education, by the way, is primarily ordered to life. The whole point of classical education is life. To spread life. To increase life. To enrich life. To propagate and widen its extension. To deepen it and strengthen it. To perpetuate it and make it eternal.
That in a nutshell is what Catholic classical education, otherwise known as Catholic liberal education, is all about.
The simple reason for this is that to know the truth and to live is the same thing. That is why Our Lord and Savior said in John 14:6,
I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me.
And Aristotle points out the equivalency of knowing and living in Book IX of his Ethics when he says,
…life is defined in the case of animals by the power of perception in that of man by the power of perception or thought; and a power is defined by reference to the corresponding activity, which is the essential thing; therefore life seems to be essentially the act of perceiving or thinking.
No wonder, then that of the over 1/2 million people marching in the recent March For Life, and the tens of millions that have marched in all the past Marches, for the last four decades, an enormous number of the marchers are Catholic students from Catholic schools, colleges and universities.
Education and life are inextricably connected and the opposite of one is the opposite of the other.
Now I am not certain that each and every student is aware of this fact – life, for many students, might seem to be something other than what happens at school. As a matter of fact, to many wholesome and well brought up students, what happens at school appears to be a sort of torture, suffering and death.
And it could be that this is exactly what many schools that have lost their intellectual moorings propose. These schools are like thieves that steal the intellectual patrimony of the students and instead give them the patrimony of slavery and death. Schools that have succumbed to the doctrines of utilitarianism, and therefore have handed their students over to the deadening task of mastering servile knowledge, are in fact a torture to any human spirit.
But Man is meant to be free. He is meant to live abundantly in the freedom that knowing the truth gives. As Our Lord says in John 8:32
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
and again in John 10:10 He says
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly.
The Lyceum is dedicated to life.
This is the point of Catholic classical education. It is the only point really- that men can live life abundantly, happily, joyfully, in the fullness of truth in union with God.
Another symptom of the slavery that you talk about is that that school (and learning in general) is spoken of in opposition to the “real world” or “real life” – “life” being where you are supposed to “do” what you only “thought” or “learned about” about in school.
Not only is school seen merely as a preparation for earning money, but thinking itself only has value if it leads to doing. This can only lead to doing without thinking – and what better definition of slavery is there that this?