If we transfer this to the field of education, the evidence is clear: we want to educate young people, but for what? For what purpose? It is not possible to have an intention without a purpose, and it is the latter that must be discerned to answer the former. “The main purpose of education is to help human beings to become more fully human. Teachers must ask themselves what kind of person they want to promote. It is not sensible to have an educational goal without considering what concrete realisations it implies”. Moreover, “the OECD, in fact, recognises that education is more than information. It is a renewed focus on educating the whole person and I agree with that”, although “the character part they want to develop is very instrumental, they say very little about moral issues”.
None of this can be achieved by encouraging the building of barriers that lead to separation or alienation between those who think differently and others. “Purpose in life is found in common projects, shared activities and intimate relationships. For this reason, the Jubilee Centre recognises that human flourishing can only occur in a decent and well-governed society characterised by social justice and the common good. Extreme inequalities destroy harmony and stability, eliminating the positive social context necessary for human development”. Arthur’s point is not superfluous, he knows where he is and where our times are heading when he points out that, at present, “Western communities are marked by division, confusion, disagreement and polarisation. (…) People seem unable to disagree with each other in a kindly way. There is a lack of harmony and consensus (…) We need to talk to each other and do it amicably”. Friendship is another concept addressed by Aristotle who emphasised that, in Arthur’s words, “societies are united in friendship. So instead of polarising and condemning each other, it is very important to seek friendship and to listen to others even if we disagree with them”.