THOUGHTS ON STANDARDS

Perhaps of all the important commitments, the commitment to high standards of the most varied sort is the most important to promote and the most difficult to uphold. In regions where the quality of education is low, it is particularly difficult to respect this objective. Fragile, frustrated egos replace the required lucidity and distance with complacent dreams that elevate mediocrity to unmerited stature. The quest for serious critical analysis, so important to advancement in any area, is lost in a sea of mutual admiration for everything familiar and unexceptional.

This conspiracy of mediocrity mortgages the cultural development of future generations. This is the definition of cultural poverty – a situation in which those who could improve a situation choose instead to punish those too young to know that options exist and are thus unable to defend more noble and powerful alternative points of view.