Knowledge – how do they get it?

Knowledge.  Fred and George seem remarkably knowledgeable for princelings that have not discovered newspapers and have very little experience of the world outside Castle Marsh.  The secret is in their education, which ensures that all young persons within the castle can read, write, count, tally and do basic tasks to make the castle function properly. 

Despite Fred and George’s avoidance of some of the more mundane tasks they do know how to do them and everybody in their castle is expected to join in.  This is not necessarily the case in all castles, some of which (Vexstein in particular) are more feudal in their approach.  Whilst in principle education is open to all, there appears to be a suppression of knowledge in some areas, deliberately, so that the lords can keep the ‘masses’ under control.  This is likely to cause trouble in the future.

Young persons tend to be brought up in loose groups of the same age, with mothers and fathers participating in tending and teaching them.  There are usually one or more ‘schoolmasters’ in each castle, with the skills to teach reading, writing and tallying. The parents teach the group their manners, what is good to eat and how to find it in the wild, how to  grow things, to wash and clean themselves and their surroundings, and the basics of their own trades.  They also are taught to understand the basic principles on which all aspects of castle life are based, so why things work, how things are made, where raw materials come from, and most castles also include rules and traditions.  In this way all young people gather a broad range of subjects and then can usually enter into a sort of apprenticeship to learn skills of a trade or occupation.

Some bright young things enter occupations that require advanced study, such as engineering, manufacturing and business.  Some of this study is laid down in a syllabus held in any castle’s library, and most of the books required will be held there too.  This means that some of the education is standardised, and occupations can be taken up in different areas.   Some castles have a speciality in one or more areas of advanced study and may hold events for sharing knowledge, have students attending classes on their premises, or have students carrying out their studies and interacting with the castle through a correspondence course.  This is how Victor, a barkeeper, is managing to further his education in business administration.

George has studied the engineering syllabus at the library at Marsh, but not all the texts were there.  He has been ingenious in combining the knowledge he gained from the textbooks with a technique known as ‘working from first principles’ to design many useful machines for Marsh.  He sees a need, considers how that might be solved, then works out how to make something to solve it.  He has the advantage of being able to talk about his problems with Fred, who has developed advanced thinking skills, so that he can apply knowledge of other subjects to George’s problem.  Fred is a Natural Philosopher, so many of the new ideas he brings forward are analogies of how something is achieved in nature.  More of that under N.

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5 thoughts on “Knowledge – how do they get it?

  1. Ah yes, I can see the serfs rising up to overtake the Castle Lord, who is unwisely letting them get enough education to take over the whole Kit and Caboodle. Really good story, Best regards to you, my friend. Ruby

    • Thanks for visiting Ruby! It’s usually those pesky students doing all the rising up, though, isnt it? Too much time on their hands when they should be studying. Those poor serfs haven’t got time to start an uprising. Or have they??

  2. Sounds like a sound educational system to me.

    It seems to me that a lot of parents these days just foist their kids on the schools, then keep them amused with TV and video games. Many parents don’t want to be the bad guy and say no to anything. So what we have today is a bunch of undereducated, demanding, undisciplined little brats.

    Or it’s the opposite — the kids go to school are are expected to excel, then are overscheduled with play dates and lessons of one sort or another. So they don’t get the chance to have unstructured time and just be kids. But I’m not a parent, so what do I know.

    Also, the current educational system doesn’t prepare kids for the realities of employment. If you get a technical education to learn a specific trade — e.g., computer repair — all well and good. But if you take a more academic route and major in, say, liberal arts or even business, you come out of college and say, “What now?” You sort of drift along until you find your first job (if you’re lucky enough to get one in this climate), and see where that takes you.

    A correspondence course is perfect for Victor. He can learn at his own pace and not be hampered by the classroom setting, where he wouldn’t be happy. He’s not a linear thinker like F or G, bless him, but he’s very smart.

    • Talking of Victor, did you notice his thought process in today’s Kale blog? Red and green kale and red and green kohl rabi both being suitable for winter or something like that. He’s obviously picked up some Natural Philosophy from Fred.

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