Postman (Reading and Questions)
Neil Postman considers Athenians and Visigoths as an allusion for two different ways of living: creative and destructive. The Athenians gave birth to art, science, democracy and ecology. They understood that the beauty of the world is in its variety and tried to achieve perfection in everything. In a contrary, the civilization of the Visigoths led Europe to the Dark Ages, as they have destroyed the system of the state and the culture itself. Unlike the Athenians, the Visigoths moved towards simplification of life.
The author gives five things that characterize an Athenian. He/she needs to search for knowledge, to cherish the language, to preserve traditions, to participate in the community life, and to estimate discipline and skills. The society develops due to such people who are intelligent and understand that without creation there will be no progress. When I was a teenager, I wondered how students who are the best in school cope with the lack of friends. There is always a group of brutal guys who make fun of those, who study well and I understand that it is quite difficult to be against the community in teenage years. Though, now it is evident to me, that those students had the right goal in their life and valued knowledge more, than being with the company of Visigoths.
Neil Postman writes that the university course is connected with the Athenian culture. It does not mean that everyone who has a formal education becomes automatically an intelligent person. There are many people in the society who did not attend universities and are still active creators. He notes that the university might show the students an Athenian way to live and perceive the universe, so that in several years there will be more Athenians than Visigoths among students.
Postman, Neil. My Graduation Speech. Web.