Education, even if it cannot by itself knock down the barriers by which human beings are divided, should at any rate not add to them. Whatever else the task of education, it should not drive the intellect and the imagination of students into channels that seem to become narrower as our century grows older.
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[Wider] knowledge is worth striving for. It is not necessary to believe that all knowledge always makes men happier or freer or morally better. The applications of modern science, it may be argued, have increased oppression, danger, misery in some spheres, as well as vastly diminished them in others. It need only be accepted, firstly, that the discovery of the truth is a great good in itself; and secondly, that the only real remedy for the evil consequences, whether of ignorance or of knowledge, is more knowledge: clearer understanding of what is involved, of what is worth pursuing, of means and ends, consequences and their value.
Unless men are given the chance to find out what kind of world they live in, what they have made, are making, and could make of it — and this can only be done if they have some notion of what other men are thinking and feeling and doing, and how and why — they will continue to walk in darkness and be faced by the unpredicted and sometimes appalling consequences of one another’s activities — faced by this beyond the degree which seems inescapably imposed on us all by our imperfections. The fact that we are never likely to know enough is no reason for not seeking to know as much as we can; to settle for less than this is gratuitous defeatism: blind surrender to forces which can be controlled.