On 12 November 2008, Dawn Light posts the transcript of an interview with Thomas Moore
, in which he talks about a life’s calling, education, retirement, and reactions to his books. Part of this interview is published in the September-October 2008 issue of New Visions Magazine
. These three excerpts include Moore's answers to questions about education, readers, and work.Dawn:
What do you think of the current educational system?Thomas:
Not much. Dawn:
Well, you’re home schooling your daughter, so that says a lot right there.Thomas:
Well, it does say something, yes. My kids grew up in a Waldorf School. They went to a Waldorf School all the way through so all along I’ve been very interested in education. The thing about contemporary public education, and of course much private education, that I object to is that it’s seen as training for a job. Here we run into that same issue: a job versus a life work. I would think that an educated person is someone who understands something about the world, about their place in community and gets initiated into culture, the closest culture where it might be; learning about history and really learning it and arts and how to be with people and nature, a full education. Today we do training, we don’t really educate. So we get nervous when a child can’t use a computer. We’re not so worried whether they can be married or raise children or be responsible and intelligent participant in society. That was an old Greek idea. The ancient Greeks thought that was the heart of education: was to educate people so that when they got older they could really make a contribution to society. We don’t seem to see that. We think it’s more important that our kids develop a skill so that they can make a good living at it and have a certain level of income. I think that’s really a sad situation and leads to all kinds of problems. Testing is the big thing, and you can’t test for a real education.
When people do read your book has anyone reported that they found a sense of relief or satisfaction or less stress?Thomas:
People say that about all my books. One of the things that they say that’s very positive is that they feel like they were given permission to go ahead and do what they really felt they need and want to do. I talk to them when I give talks in bookstores and other places. I talk to them about the importance of desire. To find out what desires are really deep and require attention: otherwise you’d feel depressed for not following it through. People do feel assured and given permission and accepted for who they are, from the books, that’s for sure. Now one of the things that I can just tell you, it’s not important but very often people tell me they really appreciate my musings in the books and I hate to hear that. I feel like I’m really trying to develop a very careful, precise approach to things from a deep level and a lot of people take it as musings: just sitting around musing about things. So that’s not very pleasing to me. I hear that too. But I think the important thing is that people do feel that they’ve got permission to really move more passionately into their lives.
... So what gives you the most joy in life? Thomas:
Well that’s really hard to say. I think one of the things that comes to mind is, I love my work, for one thing. I really love my work. I hate to have — to have a day where I can’t work. I don’t like holidays very much. Part of it is that I’m able, now, to work at home. I’m with my family. I can teach my daughter in the mornings now. I’m connected to the family. My wife also works at home. She’s a painter and she has a studio here. I guess that’s the — really, the best thing.Dawn:
You love your life.Thomas:
Labels: A Life at Work, Education, Interview, Thomas Moore