Ordo amoris. What is it? What does it mean?
“Augustine says the “order of love” (ordo amoris) is the “brief and true definition of virtue.” According to this order, the human person must love everything in creation according to its proper relationship to God, which means loving God above all creatures and not inordinately loving any creature as the human person’s ultimate end.” – MUSE
So Augustine has the universe whittled down to a hierarchical pyramid, with the quest for god sitting on top. This is the standard, the bar, the student who always, no matter the circumstances, throws the curve by getting an A. According to Augustine, all love must be measured in relationship to god. No exceptions.
So what of the love of learning?
If I may define the quest for god as a human being’s inherent need/search for meaning in the universe, then I will draw similar conclusions to the quest for learning. For what other reason do we learn than to explain ourselves and the world? And we love it. Just watch a baby looking at colors and shapes.
Therefore, the love of learning cannot be far below the love of god on Augustine’s scale. We loved learning so much that we thought it should be accessible to everyone. So we institutionalized it and gave birth to Formal Education. Let’s take a look at how our current society feels about education, specifically those doing the educating:
“Students can’t master simple division or fractions because today’s teachers — churned out through lowest-common-denominator grad schools and shielded from competition — have barely mastered those skills themselves. Un-educators have abandoned “drill-and-kill” computation for multicultural claptrap and fuzzy math, traded in grammar fundamentals for “creative spelling” and dropped standard civics for save-the-earth propaganda.”
Rather than stockpiling up rage to spew out a phonetic frenzy of teacher hate, one might consider using all that time and energy to, perhaps, DO something about the system so detested. Like vote in a local school board. Demand better evaluations for teachers. Support public voice by supporting public institutions.
Parker Palmer states in The Courage to Teach, “People who start movements do so not because they hate an institution but because they love it too much to let it descend to its lowest form” (p. 177).
This is the movement – return the institution to its higher purpose by loving it, and therefore undertaking action to change it. We cannot allow our public schools to fail.
Love the institution by changing it. Education Ordo Amoris. Let’s bring it back.