Communities of Higher Learning

Some Observations on “Higher Education” from “The Love of Place and the Alchemy of Education” — The Opening Lecture of the Concord Grove Educational Center

• Higher or deeper knowledge — which has often been termed understanding, insight, or wisdom — cannot be sold or given away. It involves authentic insight into the deeper nature of things and human life.

• Higher knowledge is qualitative and not quantitative.

• Other types of learning are essential, and involve things like basic skills and techniques of analyzing information. But these types of skills must not be confused with higher insight or wisdom.

• Higher learning often does involve information; but the point of higher education does not involve assimilating information or techniques. The point is to deepen an individual’s capacity for insight.

• Communities of higher learning are not concerned with the quest for social status, personal approval, or professional advancement — or appealing to people’s hopes, fears, or desires for attention — but with the deepening of capacity for authentic insight.

• Higher learning awakens the innate potentials of the individual, and the cultivation of wisdom awakens within the heart an integration of thought and feeling. This integration opens a doorway to higher forms of knowing, and a deepening of one’s humanity.

• “Higher education” is not generally provided by contemporary colleges and universities, which usually focus on “training” and analytical skills, rather than the cultivation of insight and the human person.