The Surprising Origin of MODERN EDUCATION
Plain Truth Magazine
May 1981
Volume: Vol 46, No.5
Issue: ISSN 0032-0420
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The Surprising Origin of MODERN EDUCATION

Almost none knows the TRUTH about how today's system of higher education developed—its RECENT DRIFT— and why the system is even now becoming obsolete.

   STUDENTS all over the world make final decisions about COLLEGE every year THAT WILL VITALLY AFFECT THEIR ENTIRE LIVES!
   The WRONG decision may mean failure — unhappiness — frustration for LIFE. Girls, as well as men.
   If I were a young man or young woman, either already in a university, or now at last ready for college, I would most assuredly give sober and solemn THOUGHT to the things I want to say to you here.
   I would want to think seriously about WHY so many college graduates, after having already acquired a bachelor's or master's degree, feel that the university failed to give them what they really NEEDED, if their lives were to be successful, completely satisfying.
   I would want to look, searchingly, into the REASONS behind the thousands of FAILURES in life by college graduates — and why even most who do achieve moderate or even rich financial status still find their lives UNHAPPY, far short of the completely gratifying, rewarding sense of satisfaction they had anticipated before entering college.
   I would want to find the reasons WHY A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF COLLEGE GRADUATES MAKE FAILURES IN MARRIAGE — failures in child rearing as parents.
   I would want to know WHY so many, whose minds have been trained and filled with technical knowledge in specialized fields, still are emotionally immature, morally and spiritually mixed up and confused, still plagued with a feeling of inadequacy, uncertainty, inferiority, insecurity — even frustration.
   Yes, WHY?
   WHAT IS IT that these millions, who spent four, six or more years in "higher education" find they failed to obtain at college?
   It is, plainly and simply, that they were not given the most important knowledge and experience needed for a balanced, well-rounded, happy, abundant life that is really successful!
   I have lived an active, dynamic, much-traveled, fast-moving life. And today I look back, with deep and very gratifying satisfaction, on a life of accomplishment that has been full, abundant, interesting, even exciting, but always rewarding. Of course there have been problems to solve, obstacles to hurdle. There have been, too, disappointments and setbacks, for those come to every life. They are the training ground of character.
   But I have come in contact with numerous men supposedly "successful" by generally accepted standards — men who headed great and vast enterprises, men whose bank accounts were full, but their lives empty!
   I have known scores of multimillionaires — nearly all of them unhappy! Most certainly I do not consider poverty a criterion of success, but after knowing so many hundreds who became financially affluent, neither do I consider acquisition of MONEY a proof of success. There is more to life than earning a living, though that is one of the necessary requirements.
   And I have known wives of financially "successful" husbands — career women — some who reached the top of the social ladder. They, too, were unhappy, discontented.
   When I was only 22, I was sent throughout the United States as the "idea man" of a national magazine — interviewing businessmen, studying, analyzing merchandising and general business conditions, learning why one man makes a success, another a failure, in the management of his business.
   All my life since, I have studied the CAUSES of success and of failure in life — the REASONS for so much unhappiness.
   And when, more than 30 years ago, it became my privilege and responsibility to found an institution in the field of higher education — Ambassador College — I talked about these problems with a number of educators of good rank in this business of education. I discussed with them the facts that I had found so many college graduates to be actual failures in life, not knowing how to live it, even though many were financially "successful."
   Said Dr. Packer, chancellor of higher education for the State of Oregon: "Mr. Armstrong, I envy your great opportunity. We know there are serious evils in our educational system. We know it is gripped tightly in the clutch of a vicious materialism. Those of us at the head of some of these large and vast educational organizations are also in the clutch of that system — even though we see the evils, we are powerless to change them. But, you, Mr. Armstrong, are not bound by these fetters of tradition. You are FREE to start anew — to RECAPTURE THE TRUE VALUES — while retaining all that has proven good in educational experience."
   Dr. Packer by those words set the motto of Ambassador College — RECAPTURE TRUE VALUES!
   What, after all, is basically, criminally, WRONG? First, above all else, people are groping in the dark, not knowing THE TRUE VALUES!
   The millions of even the supposedly "successful" are spending lifetimes of precious hours and strenuous efforts toward wrong GOALS, false VALUES, that fail to pay off! It's like devoting the energies of a lifetime chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow — groping, open-mouthed, for the mirage on a blistering hot desert.
   Do you want to struggle through life in that manner, only to end up frustrated, disillusioned, too late to start all over again?
   Life is a pretty serious thing. You only live it ONCE!
   The basic, most necessary things you need to learn are the real meaning and PURPOSE of life — WHY we are alive, the TRUE VALUES, distinguished from the false (few, if any, of the greatest educators and wealthiest millionaires have ever learned this), and THE WAY — the HOW — that brings peace, happiness, abundant wellbeing.
   There is a CAUSE for every effect. There are REASONS for unhappy, frustrated lives — among those who are "successful" financially, socially, politically, or in usual channels of life. There is a REASON for lack of PEACE in the world: Most heads of government do not know the WAY to peace! If they did, would we not have a little of it?
   Just training the intellect is NOT ENOUGH!
   Technical training in a line of specialization is NOT ENOUGH!
   Millions have obtained that kind of education — but it has led to unhappy and unsuccessful lives! It has not prepared these "educated" for living!

Laws of Success

   There is a CAUSE for every result. If your life is to be TRULY successful, you must find and apply the CAUSE of that satisfying happiness.
   There are definite laws that determine success or failure — happiness or unhappiness.
   The very first law of success is to have and diligently pursue the RIGHT GOAL! The second is EDUCATION — preparation for that right goal.
   I have known scores and scores of people who had success in achieving their goal. They applied diligently the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth of the seven laws for REAL success. Well, perhaps many rather neglected the third law, which is good health. To have good health you must know the laws of good physical health — the physical laws of body and mind that regulate physical health. And you must apply them.
   The fourth law I call DRIVE. Initiative, self-propulsion, prodding the self, driving on, instead of letting down. The fifth is RESOURCEFULNESS — the ability and confident determination to think the way through, over, around or past every problem, obstacle or difficulty that comes in one's path. And life will be full of these. They stop and defeat the irresolute, the shiftless, the unthinking, those lacking resourcefulness. The sixth is perseverance — stick-to-it-iveness — refusal to give up or quit. (And if you want to know what the seventh one is, send for your free copy of the full-color booklet titled The Seven Laws of Success.)
   Yes, those regarded as successful in the world have practiced these rules — and they have attained their goals. But that has not always been real success, because their GOALS were not right goals.
   Many businessmen fail because they are in the wrong business — the proverbial "square pegs in the round holes."
   But, in the main, the MILLIONS supposedly SUCCESSFUL have never known REAL success. Some of these ended up suicides! Nearly all have been unhappy. Many, if not most, have been failures in their home and family life — failures as parents. It is they, not their teen children, who are the "delinquents."
   And WHY?
   Again, they did not know the TRUE VALUES. They chose the wrong goals. They worked hard to achieve a wrong goal that left them disillusioned, frustrated, unhappy.
   This thing we call civilization is, simply, the WAY OF LIFE that is lived by the people. It is the system, the customs, the manner of life in human contacts and associations and organizations and ways. It is, in short, THIS WORLD.
   And this world is emphatically NOT a happy, truly successful world!
   In the brief span of a lifetime the world has passed with accelerating speed through the age of invention, the machine age, the age of science and technology, the nuclear age, and, now, the space age. The sudden acceleration in scientific development is evidenced by the astonishing fact that 90 percent of all scientists who ever lived are living today.

New Age in Education

   And with these developments has emerged a new age in education.
   Today's world is what its leaders have made it, and these leaders are the product of this world's education. But what kind of world has this education produced?
   It is a deceptive world. It appears to be a world replete with gadgets, labor-saving devices and luxury undreamed of by our ancestors. It is a world of instantaneous worldwide communication, rapid transportation by automobile, railroad, jet plane. It is a world entertained by radio, television, stage and screen, giant sports fields and arenas. It is a mechanized world where mass assembly-line machine production makes possible higher incomes, shorter work hours, more leisure for entertainment and amusement.
   Is not this an exciting world of great progress? Is this not a world looking forward to a magic pushbutton century 21, where labor will be all but abolished, with idleness and ease for all?
   It seems so.
   But it is a deceptive world. Never was the world so filled with discontent and unhappiness, with crime, with juvenile delinquency, with divorce and broken homes, with sickness and mental illnesses, with violence and destruction. Never before was it possible to erase all life — human, animal and plant — from the face of this earth!
   This whole disintegrating civilization is the product of an underlying concept toward knowledge and a philosophy toward life, which together have, formed the foundation of modern education. The philosophic basis of modern education is that of the ancient pagan Greeks and Romans. The concept, through which the presence and motion of things has been viewed and explained, is the materialistic approach of modern science.
   Modern education, therefore, is almost wholly materialistic. It develops the machine, the theorem, the hypothesis that becomes the faith or the belief of modern science. But it fails to develop the MAN, or to lead him to a knowledge of the true values.
   Few seem to know that peace of mind, happiness, contentment, the true absorbing, interest-filled abundant life of utter well-being, with prosperity and assured security, are our true heritage. Few seem to know THE WAY. Few seem to know that there are invisible but inexorable LAWS in motion to make possible that utopian state for all. The very first mission of education is to disseminate the knowledge of those laws and of the PURPOSE of life.
   Yet this knowledge is NOT disseminated — except at the campuses of Ambassador College.
   What is man? WHY is man? Was he put on this earth for a PURPOSE — Or did he just happen, by accident? Is there meaning to life? What is THE WAY to peace, to happiness, to well-being, to dependable security? Why are we air-breathing creatures of mere transitory existence?
   WHY are these questions ignored, and certainly never taught — these BASIC foundations of any right or true education?
   Simply because modern education has become almost wholly materialistic. It has lost the true values. It gropes hopelessly in the dark, in a vain search for the acquisition of knowledge that can come only through the very source it rejects!
   It fails to teach young men and women the most needed of all knowledge. It teaches young people how to earn a living, but fails to teach them how to live!

Surprising Origin of Modern Education

   How did the system of modern education come about? A brief research of its history will prove startlingly illuminating.
   The academic form of curricular education was originated by the pagan Greek philosopher Plato, 427-347 B.C. He was the founder of education of regular curriculum in a fixed place. He called it the academy.
   But an interesting analogy, and lesson — if you can believe it — is portrayed as of a much earlier date. It is found in the biblical account in Genesis.
   It portrays the Creator as the original Educator, giving instruction to the first man and woman, regarding the two basic ways of life. This was pictured by two symbolic trees. The one, freely offered, represented the way, as a life-philosophy of love — of outgoing concern for others — of giving — of serving — of sharing. The other, forbidden yet left completely accessible, symbolized the opposite life-philosophy. It evaluated success in terms of material acquisition. It was the way of vanity, selfishness and greed; of consideration, first of all, for SELF; it exalted competition and strife.
   The first was simply the way of the invisible, inexorable, living LAWS performed by LOVE — the Law of the Ten Commandments — the Law of the Golden Rule. That way is the CAUSE of peace, happiness, abundant well being.
   The second was the way this world has followed: competition, acquisition, materialism, fulfilling the twin pulls of human nature — vanity and greed. This way causes all war, strife, unhappiness, human TROUBLES.
   This account portrays the Great Educator revealing these living laws of love as the way to peace, prosperity, happiness — a real utopia — and their violation the way to strife and war, pain, suffering, insecurity, wretchedness, discontent, emptiness and death.
   True to human nature even as it manifests itself so often today, the woman took over the initiative. She is pictured as inaugurating, in principle, the "scientific method" of our time.
   She rejected revelation as a source of knowledge.
   She embarked on the very first recorded "scientific experiment. She decided to make a test, and observe the results. For guinea pigs she used her husband and herself. She experimented, first, with the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
   The result of that "scientific experiment"? The guinea pigs became unhappy. They died. During their lifetime, however, they experimented further in the psychology of child rearing. Again rejecting revelation, they adopted the "scientific method" of permissiveness. The result of that experiment? It produced the first juvenile delinquent. Their eldest son became a murderer, and they grieved the loss of the second.
   But, it seems, neither they, nor their children in all the successive generations ever since, have learned anything from the experiments. Humanity has been experimenting by the same process ever since, with the same unhappy results.
   Sorrow, suffering and death have been the harvest reaped by each succeeding generation. Mankind has never learned from the dearest teacher of all — experience.
   But mankind has written the lesson in human blood!
   The most ancient of records reveal that educational institutions, from dimmest antiquity, were organized and maintained by religions. As early as the 10th century B.C. we find the record of schools for the training of pagan priesthoods. On the other hand, the prophet Elijah, at the turn of the ninth century, established three colleges for the prophets of God.

Pagan Schools for Christians

   At the beginning of the Christian era, pagan schools, on the Plato model, dotted the Roman Empire. No Christian schools existed.
   Printing had not yet been invented. Textbooks had to be prepared, laboriously, entirely by hand, one at a time. All textbooks were pagan.
   All leaders in the first five centuries of the Christian world were, of necessity, the pupils of this pagan education.
   Then the barbaric invasion swept away these schools. Through these years the only education in the Western world was pagan. Pagan philosophers and religious beliefs and customs were instilled automatically into growing children. Observance of pagan holidays was a regular part of school life — as, surprising though it may seem, it continues to be today!
   Education was instilled as a system of memory training. It was "spoon-fed," literally funneled into immature and growing minds. Children were taught to accept without question, assume without proof, believe and memorize whatever was taught. This method, too, persists today. Children are seldom taught to THINK — but to be followers, not leaders. Few know why they believe the things they do. Through all those years, all literature in the Western world was pagan.
   Beginning the sixth century, the only schools were the monastic schools, for the training of monks, and the cathedral schools, for the training of priests. These evolved into the universities of Salerno, Bologna, Reggio, Padua, Modena, Vercelli and others.
   The first university of our modern pattern was the University of Paris, beginning in the 12th century.
   English students, sent to the University of Paris, later (1167-68) founded Oxford University. Oxford alumni founded Cambridge. Graduates of these universities founded Harvard in 1636, William and Mary in 1693, Yale in 1701 and Princeton came later in 1746.
   It was Thomas Jefferson who founded the first state university — the University of Virginia — in 1819. His motive was to divorce education from religion. This started the present materialistic trend in American education. There was great public protest at the time. His new state university was termed "shocking" and "irreligious."

Two Dangerous Drifts

   Two other factors added impetus to the materialistic drift. "Rationalism" spread its leaven through every phase of the educational structure.
   And, in the present century, big business has made sizable financial contributions, conditional on establishment of technical, scientific and professional courses to train needed personnel for these huge corporations. This has resulted in education becoming more and more a system of training young people in the art of earning a living, at the expense of teaching them how to live! They need to know both!
   As institutions of higher learning continued through the 20th century, enrollments multiplied. Today we have virtual assembly-line education production. The student loses his identity. becomes a virtual nonentity, blending into the uniform collectivism.
   Prominent educators have voiced their alarm at this state of educational affairs. Many recognize the evils and the dangers — yet confess their utter helplessness to brake the drift or change the direction.
   The Encyclopaedia Britannica has given this definition of education: "Many definitions have been given of the word education, but underlying them all is the conception that it denotes an attempt on the part of the adult members of a human society to shape the development of the coming generation in accordance with its own ideals of life…. Education may be said to be the efforts made by the community to impose its culture upon the growing generation…. Schools and universities which are the ordinary channels through which adult culture reaches the young are naturally conservative and bound by tradition. They are slow to leave the old paths" (emphasis added).
   In briefest summary: Education from earliest antiquity was a means of pagan religious instruction that became a vehicle for disseminating pagan culture, religious doctrines and customs under the Platonic curricular system. It evolved in our modern era into a system of instilling the teachings of what the author-philosopher Dr. C.E. Ayers terms "Science, the False Messiah" — or the "new religion" of rationalism and materialism, which, of course, masquerades under names and terminology other than "religion."

Now — Ambassador College!

   During the planning stage of the founding of Ambassador College, certain educators, held by circumstances in the clutch of this system, expressed sincere congratulations on the opportunity that was Ambassador's.
   We were privileged to be freed from the evils inherent in today's materialism. Ours was the glorious opportunity to recapture the true values; to teach the basic most-needed knowledge almost universally ignored; to teach young people not merely how to earn a living, but how to live; to avoid mass-production education by limiting enrollment; to put due emphasis on true character building; and at the same time having the advantage of being able to retain all that has proved good and sound in educational experience.
   Ambassador College has been built upon this educational FOUNDATION: Recognition of fundamental truths regarding the purpose and meaning of life, and the laws that make possible peace, happiness, and the truly successful life.
   Students are not only free, but encouraged, to question any or all ideas, postulates, or supposed truths, whether enjoying society's acceptance or not — and to prove all things before accepting them as fact. Students here are guided in ability to make right and sound decisions.
   Emphasis here is on character building, development of personality, poise and leadership. Ambassador College is the PIONEER for the WORLD TOMORROW — the college of the future!

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Plain Truth MagazineMay 1981Vol 46, No.5ISSN 0032-0420