Sunday, 28 September 2014

Why Alcuin?

The title of this blog (In Search of a New Alcuin) means exactly what it says. I don’t suggest that I am a new Alcuin. On the contrary, I am dimly aware of the need for such a figure, and am trying to start a process through which, just conceivably, he may emerge. He will not be a person, I shouldn’t imagine, but a coherent series of ideas held and defended by a sufficient number of people that they stand a chance of becoming orthodox, and therefore of being considered for implementation. I remember Alcuin because he also sought ways to educate the young. I imagine he experienced at least some of the same problems education has now, especially politics, but he had the advantage of working almost from scratch, and of being able to develop a system with clearly defined goals, large resources, and relatively few preconceptions. The problems with state education today are many, and may all be said to derive, directly or indirectly, from forgetting the reasons for having such a system in the first place. To create something based on those reasons, whose only purpose is to serve those goals, will require that all the other motivations and purposes that have crowded out the supposed intentions, be recognised and removed from the process.

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