The chessboard is the world; the pieces are the are the phenomena of the universe; the rules of the game are what we call the laws of Nature. The player on the other side is hidden from us. We know that his play is always fair, just, and patient. But also we know, to our cost, that he never overlooks a mistake, or makes the smallest allowance for ignorance. To the man who plays well, the highest stakes are paid, with that sort of overflowing generosity with which the strong shows delight in strength. And one who plays ill is checkmated — without haste, but without remorse.

T. H. Huxley (1825-1895) English biologist [Thomas Henry Huxley]
“A Liberal Education and Where to Find It” (1868)

Added on 24-Sep-10 | Last updated 13-Nov-15
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4 thoughts on ““A Liberal Education and Where to Find It” (1868)”

  1. Dave,
    Searching Google Blogs for “”A Liberal Education” T H Huxley”, and ,frankly, looking to find a partner in my project brought us together.

    I am intending a presentation for Hank Stone’s “Creating the Future” Series. It may use PowerPoint. And citations of writing of: T H Huxley, “A Liberal Education”; Swego Polya, author of “How to Solve It”; and Aubrey Daniels, various, may be involved.

    Already we’ve some synergy … I had not seen T H Huxley’s “Truth is better than profit. I have searched …belief … ; still I will not
    lie”. I like it. …

    Also I have viewed all of T H Huxley; W H Auden; Tolstoy; Tomlin and Shakespeare; I’ ll Be checking G K Chesterton,and others too.

    I am very enthused with the prospects. Thank you for “WIST”

    Hope you’ll be hopping on the quote that is the first sentence of Daniels’ “Other People’s Habits: ….”

  2. I read “About WIST” because I was curious. It’s a neat idea, and I have in the past wondered why I don’t make such a collection myself. But I know now that I have a safer way to store such gems. Safer because language itself is susceptible to propaganda, tyranny, and simple coercion. For example, consider that the leaders of the USA mostly believe that the Patriot Act is aptly named, on one hand, and Constitutional on the other. So I record the ideas rather than the words. But there’s only one recording device suited to that, and it is my mind. Now if I can only remember all those clever things I’d read…

    Huxley’s essay has advanced my personal love of the maxim that the school of hard knocks is the best school. Indeed, one could be better prepared to learn in that school if one had the liberal education – the artificial education, as he calls it – that he describes. So I suppose there is a school better than the school of hard knocks, and it is the school in which the teacher knows that the school of hard knocks is the most important one, and prepares a student to learn in its classrooms.

    Bucky invited me here, and for that, I thank him.

    1. Thanks, Dave. Language may be “susceptible to propaganda, tyranny, and simple coercion,” but it’s the only tool we’ve got to share these kind of ideas. And it can be beautiful, too.

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