Monday, April 09, 2012

"I hold no brief for the pre-war Spartan training of the English upper class – or middle class as it is now the fashion to call it, leaving the upper to the angels – since in the ordinary affairs of a conventional life it is not of the slightest value to anyone; but it is of use on the admittedly rare occasions when one needs a high degree of physical endurance. I have been through an initiation ceremony on the Rio Javary – the only way I could persuade them to teach me how their men can exercise a slight muscular control over haemorrhage – and I thought it more a disagreeable experience than any proof of maturity. It lasted only a day and a night, whereas the initiation ceremonies of the tribal English continue for the ten years of education. We torture a boy’s spirit rather than his body, but all torture is, in the end, directed at the spirit. I was conditioned to endure without making an ass of myself."

from Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household

"Education should be something of which a child can later say: if I survived that, I can survive anything."

from Never Mind by Edward St. Aubyn

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