- Knowledge Economy turns 20th Century economics upside-down
- Information Revolution and Spiritual Renaissance
- Questioning the Authority of State-funded compulsory schooling.
- Education of the Whole Man & The Philosopher’s Eminent role.
To understand the scale of that earlier transformation we need to understand something about the medieval world, and what it took to shake it out of its complacency in a very short time.
In the early sixteenth century when Machiavelli wrote “The Prince”, Europe was in turmoil. After centuries of mental stagnation new ideas were starting to shake people’s confidence in the status quo. Every action of medieval man had been motivated by the fear of death and the prospect of an eternity in hell. Sudden death stalked every corridor of life. People were fearful, and gullible. To an unscrupulous priest to propose to a rich man that he could vastly improve his chances of going to heaven if he left a significant amount of his estate to the Church, was an offer too good for many to refuse. Steadily the Church had grown progressively richer, far richer than any prince or country.
The influence of the medieval church had been stultifying. The Renaissance had started to shake this; by recovering the glories of the ancient world, the Renaissance had stimulated intellectual thought about science, philosophy and the nature of politics. It set men thinking about the concepts of democracy, nationalism and the nation state, and raised renewed questions about the authority and power of the Church, and its all-too-obvious abuses and corruptions. It heard again Plato’s ideas about the education of the whole man, and the pre-eminent role he ascribed to philosophers. The status quo had either to fight back, or collapse.