On the Future of our Educational Institutions

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 48

our present
public schools well knows what a wide gulf separates their teachers
from classicism, and how, from a feeling of this want, comparative
philology and allied professions have increased their numbers to such
an unheard-of degree."

"What I mean is," said the other, "it would depend upon whether a
teacher of classical culture did _not_ confuse his Greeks and Romans
with the other peoples, the barbarians, whether he could _never_ put
Greek and Latin _on a level with_ other languages: so far as his
classicalism is concerned, it is a matter of indifference whether the
framework of these languages concurs with or is in any way related to
the other languages: such a concurrence does not interest him at all;
his real concern is with _what is not common to both_, with what shows
him that those two peoples were not barbarians as compared with the
others--in so far, of course, as he is a true teacher of culture and
models himself after the majestic patterns of the classics."

"I may be wrong," said the philosopher, "but I suspect that, owing to
the way in which Latin and Greek are now taught in schools, the
accurate grasp of these languages, the ability to speak and write them
with ease, is lost, and that is something in which my own generation
distinguished itself--a generation, indeed, whose few survivers have
by this time grown old; whilst, on the other hand, the present
teachers seem to impress their pupils with the genetic and historical
importance of the subject to such an extent that, at best, their
scholars ultimately turn into little Sanskritists, etymological
spitfires, or reckless conjecturers; but not one of them can read his
Plato or Tacitus with pleasure, as we old folk can. The public schools
may still be seats of learning: not, however of _the_ learning which,
as it were, is only the natural and involuntary auxiliary of a culture
that is directed towards the noblest ends; but rather of that culture
which might be compared to the hypertrophical swelling of an unhealthy
body. The public schools are certainly the seats of this obesity, if,
indeed, they have not degenerated into the abodes of that elegant
barbarism which is boasted of as being 'German culture of the

"But," asked the other, "what is to become of that large body of
teachers who have not been endowed with a true gift for culture, and
who set up as teachers merely to gain a livelihood from the
profession, because there is a demand for them, because a superfluity
of schools brings with it a superfluity of teachers? Where shall

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