Understanding, Imagination, Strength, Courage, Humility, and Generosity are the six virtues of the educated person for three reasons:
(1) Everybody should develop virtue — it’s the meaning of the word. That’s why the only useful virtue lists are those that answer the question, “Why these and not others?”
(2) Everybody should develop these six virtues because they are the ingredients of all others. It’s like they are the ingredients of a cake. You can have flour, salt, milk, and eggs without a cake, but you cannot have a cake without flour, salt, milk and eggs. With virtues, you can have understanding, imagination, and strength without patience, but you cannot have virtuous patience without understanding, imagination, and strength. The same is true for all virtues because understanding is the most basic intellectual capacity; imagination is the most basic intellectual action; strength is the most basic character capacity; courage is the most basic character action; humility is the most basic spiritual capacity; and generosity is the most basic spiritual action.
(3) These virtues are also required to develop knowledge and skill, which makes them the foundation for building an educated citizenry. What is more useful than that?
This definition is also inspiring because it tells us what makes a good teacher. Whether in the role of parent, classroom instructor, coach, or advisor of any sort; good teachers model and teach the six virtues. But don’t take my word for it. Think of your own teachers. Were the good ones understanding, imaginative, strong, courageous, humble, and generous? Were the mediocre teachers less so? Were the poor ones ignorant, intellectually incompetent, weak, fearful of truth, proud and selfish?
Or pretend you are programming a robot to be a teacher. Which virtue would you not program into it? Which would you add? The full argument for this definition is in the book.
Please comment with your definition of the educated person. Or you could:
1. nominate a virtue that is not a combination of these six.
2. describe a situation that would not be improved through greater understanding, imagination, strength, courage, humility or generosity.
3. describe how to learn something without bringing these virtues to the situation.
Or read and comment on blogs. Peruse blogs by picking a category and scrolling down to check headlines.