Blog author: jballor
by on Tuesday, January 24, 2012

In a conversation this morning on the way into the office I complained of what I called the “tyranny of pragmatism” that characterizes the approach of many students towards their education. In this I meant a kind of emphasis on what works, and in fact what works right now over what might work later or better.

Then I was reminded of this little catechism that appears in the notes of Luigi Taparelli’s treatise “Critical Analysis of the First Concepts of Social Economy,” which appears in translation in the latest issue of the Journal of Markets & Morality.

Taparelli writes of “an odd catechism attributed to the Anglo-Americans but that we believe most appropriate for that ignoble part of any society that takes utilitarianism for its guide.”

It proceeds thus:

What is life? A time to earn money.
What is money? The goal of life.
What is man? A machine for earning money.
What is woman? A machine for spending money, and so forth

What is the purpose of an education today if not primarily to teach us what works to make money right now?


  • JohnE

    I would relate
    Martha –> Mary
    work –> worship
    training for work –> discovering who you are and who God is

    Not at all to discount the good and importance of work, I’d say the purpose of education is tied to the higher and ultimate purpose of our lives, the eternal Sabbath of resting in God.  The purpose of education is to come to know God.

    This seems to be closely related to the DeKoster/Pieper debate (in which I still suspect DeKoster misunderstands Pieper more than he actually disagrees with him).