February 17, 2011

Diversa sunt hominum studia

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Today's saying is Diversa sunt hominum studia. In English: "People's passions run in different directions."

In a previous post, I mentioned that I am opposed to anything like a "common curriculum" or "core knowledge" that everyone is supposed to acquire. That narrow-mindedness just does not fit with how I see the world of teaching and learning. The possibilities for teaching and learning are infinite, and we are in fact very lucky that different people are interested in different things. How boring the world would be if everyone studied the same things and we all had the same knowledge! Because we all study different things, our collective knowledge keeps on growing. The greater the number of things people study and learn, the wiser our society will be as a whole. Diversity benefits us all: Diversa sunt hominum studia.

In terms of Latin vocabulary, that word studium is worth careful attention. You can translate it with the English word "study, field of study," but don't forget that the Latin word has a much wider range of meaning than the English derivative. The noun is derived from the Latin verb studere, which means "to be eager, to be zealous, to desire," so a studium is not just schoolwork in Latin: it is the passion you feel that inspires you to learn more! Take a look at the Lewis & Short dictionary entry for more details.

For those of you who are fans of macrons, here is the Latin written with macrons:

DÄ«versa sunt hominum studia.



jasonc65 said...

It seems to me the proverb can be used both for and against the notion. An individual should study diverse things, in order to be well rounded. On the other hand, individuals study diverse things, so that no two study alike. I do agree with you about diversity of interests. I think that there is too much commonality in our curricula, and a lot of the common ground that is taught is filled with vague fluff. I also think both ideas are consistent. An individual may undertake several studies without studying everything. For instance, I like mathematics and computer programming, two diverse subjects in themselves. On the other hand, in order to get a degree in IT, I had to take Project Management whether I wanted to or not. Mentis cibus.

Laura Gibbs said...

Yes, there are often flat-out contradictory proverbs or two different ways to understand the same proverb - but I shamelessly pick the ones that I like here... and since I like to study different things, I picked this one! I'm also a big fan of the saying: cuique suum, "to each his own," an idea you can see in "Suo quisque studio gaudet" "Each enjoys his own study/passion" - and there the emphasis is not that one person might study many different things, but one person might study just one thing, and enjoy that thing in a way no one else would!
Although I have to admit that I cannot think of a proverb that would say you MUST learn Project Management. I'll let the Project Management guys come up with their own proverbial justification for that. :-)