1 2 3 4 5 6 7

this cultural conditioning. John Stuart Mill describes this best in "Utilitarianism":

"A cultivated mind--I do not mean that of a philosopher, but any mind to which the fountains of knowledge have been opened, and which has been taught, in any tolerable degree, to exercise its faculties--finds sources of inexhaustible interest in all that surrounds it: in the objects of nature, the achievements of art, the imaginations of poetry, the incidents of history, the ways of mankind past and present, and their prospects in the future" (pg. 13-14).

This, is the purpose and beauty of education--to expand awareness beyond our

perception and culture. Though Mill wrote "Utilitarianism" in 1861, even then he recognized that

"the present wretched education and wretched social arrangements are the only real hindrance to

[awareness]being attainable to all" (pg. 13). Education isn't the problem, it's the culture and how

and what itchooses to educate through schooling. Finally, Leopold mentions the educated Phi Beta

Kappawoman who was not aware of the geese "that proclaim the revolving seasons" (1949, pg.18).

Iwant to reiterate that this women is blind to greater awareness of nature not because of education,

but because of culture--a culture that never explained the importance of being aware ( or rather,

paying attention) or of caring for the natural world in a deeper manner. Thus, we can firmly state

that education serves the purpose of cultivating the mind to be even more aware, not only of ideas,

poetry, history, science, and of mankind, but of nature. Education does not blind us to greater

knowledge, it removes the cataracts that have hindered our sight so that we may see again with

greater clarity.

I am concerned that Leopold's interpretation of education is the definition that is being

accepted by today's culture. It is not a healthy definition as it turns young minds away from

expanding their awareness of world and its many intricacies. Leopold is correct to question the

schooling our culture does through socialization, for it does turn us away from other ways to view

the world and it does select what we are aware of. But, A Sand County Almanacis not the place to

do this, unless an effort is going to be made to justify it's reasoning and placement in a work of

poetry. Education, in the true sense (and perhaps it is a concept that Leopold did not grasp), serves

to make us aware of our world, it expands our knowledge, and helps us to develop our mind and

thought. I have found, through my personal experience of years of homeschooling, that education

is beautiful, if not a spiritual experience. Perhaps because I was educated in an environment that

sought to cultivate the mind (much as I see the purpose of "university"), I have a different