No, I'm not talking about Suri Cruise or any other celebrity child's education...

The Education of Ludwig Wittgenstein

Portrait of Wittgenstein,
By Clara Sjögren [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
Have you heard of the Wittgensteins?  I confess I had not, until I was strong-armed into breezing through several tomes of philosophy on the premise that it would give me a context for understanding architectural theory (the jury's still out on that one).  Nestled in with the Derrida, Kant & Hegel was Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Years later, what I remember most about Ludwig was how he was raised:

  1. turn of the century Vienna, HELLO!
  2. dinner parties hosted by his mama (yay, woman power!) with awesome guests, which leads to...
  3. music and cross-discipline artistic/ philosophical collaboration in a social setting
  4. with an insane amount of money: they were the Carnegies of Vienna.
"The family was at the center of Vienna's cultural life; Bruno Walter described the life at the Wittgensteins' palace as an "all-pervading atmosphere of humanity and culture".  (from Wikipedia)

Some of the dinner guests Ludwig & his siblings were familiar with growing up include Brahms and Mahler.  The Wittgensteins in fact were patrons to many arts and musicians for generations: not in the modern sense of buying a painting from time to time, but in that they supported them while they created their art.

For a renaissance or artistic movement to really flourish, you've GOT to have interaction among the arts.  There are many ways to do this, but I'm a big fan of the dinner party / salon.

And Yet

"Parent Child Yoga" Stephanie Riddell
And yet, with the various tutors and governesses-- the best that money could buy-- the children's education suffered and was recalled in later years with regret.  There had been no overall supervision of their learning, progress, and individual temperaments. 

And that's the humdinger, ain't it?  Parental oversight is the great game-changer when it comes to education.  We may choose to delegate the actual classes to public school teachers or private tutors or tackle it ourselves regardless of our own individual expertise.  But we can never delegate the responsibility to anyone else.  It's one of a parent's most sacred obligations.


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