Thursday, 7 May 2015

The passing of the Men of the Middling sort

The world has changed again.  No longer are Teachers, Architects, Doctors, Professors or even Barristers as well paid as they were hitherto used to. (Source: BBC - Clinging on: the decline of the middle classes - audio: Here )
 Too many people studying now have to get Phd's to be competitive.  And they usually end up as Professors - a self-propagating paradigm, revealing that scholarship has use only inside of its own sphere.  This falling away of the great fat in the middle, the capitulation of the men of the middling sort is supposedly because of the Internet.  Doctors, for instance, often refer to the same site the patients can do from home to diagnose symptoms.  

After my personal researches into history it appears we've gone full circle. The quality of higher education is so much lower because of the emphasis on ever specialised subject areas. Most of which are impractical, abstract and theoretical.  The clue is in the word University.  Universal knowledge is not what people acquire anymore from "university".   Our greatest architects studied theology, philosophy, astronomy and geometry.  They were interested in alchemy.  They built sets for theatre and were excellent artists in that they could render drawings to a certain standard.  They ended up building St. Paul's (Wren) or St. Luke's (Hawksmoor).  
There was no need to have a graduate degree in Architecture, because they had learnt all the necessary skill components from studying other subjects, which could be classed as the general humanities.  They could choose to apply themselves in any field, practically, from this base.  In comparison, the average architects today are minnows.  They study one field for 7 years.  They end up on a computer programme designing buildings which look like they are designed by computers. Tools.  

Is this bad for civilisation, and its inevitable decline ? Perhaps.  But this could also be a blessed relief, an end to the superfluous mediocrity that has built up like a crust, a shield protecting these inane mediocre, meagre impotent potentates, and yielding a return to the pre-industrialised culture, as prophesied by William Morris and John Ruskin in the 19thC,  when the blacksmith or the tanner had something akin to inalienable rights, not defined for him by political rhetoric, but of himself and by his own means without the interminable intervention of middlemen.  Universal suffrage and welfare is the argument against this freedom, but that is itself ironically, only achieved by the giving up of personal freedom.  Which, of course only benefits the middlemen, the clerical classes.  Medieval man worked very little. Between 90 and 140 feast days (besides the Sundays) were no rarity.

This could be the defining moment in the difference between Civilisation and Culture.  Civilisation being built on the back of Culture and not the reverse.