Not Necessarily Earth
I recently got to thinking about the question of literacy and education on the world of Ærth and it occurred to me that Ærth’s situation regarding knowledge would not, necessarily, be that of Earth as far as the west is concerned. As a Muslim once put it, ”If it agrees with the Koran it is not necessary and if it disagrees with the Koran, then it is blasphemy. In either case get rid of it.
On Ærth the animosity towards knowledge exhibited by Christianity never appeared, for on Ærth there is no Christianity. Indeed, there is no Judaism or Islam, for the conditions that led to the appearance of the three faiths; and their ”successors”; never occurred. The hostility our Christianity exhibited in the early days, whenever knowledge competed with the religion, never arose. Instead, the various gods of Ærth did not see knowledge as being a danger to them or their worshipers, and there were those who saw knowing as being beneficial to mortals.
So it is that on Ærth an emphasis is placed on knowing and learning. Not in all lands, or among all peoples, but where there are resources that can be dedicated to education, education is emphasized. Nations such as Ægypt, Ch’in, an Iroukia promote literacy to a great degree. Babylon sponsors itinerant scholars who travel about the land holding classes for all walks of life. Indeed, among the upper classes parents exhibit great pride on what their children know, and often people of high status are accorded greater rank thanks to their accomplishments where learning is concerned.
So it is that on Ærth those with a good education tend to be placed higher in social standing than those of poor education. A duke who cannot read is often treated with pity, if not contempt. A villein with his letters is usually given more consideration than the illiterate cotter, and his words treated with greater respect.
This does not mean there is no belittling of those of lesser rank, but maltreatment of the educated just for being educated is not as prevalent as it is sometimes here.
This has implications, but those I will address in a subsequent post.