Broadly, the concept of Bildung is that of development and realization.
Enlightenment thinkers, intellectuals and humanists planted the tradition of Bildung in 1700s German intellectual circles. Bildung holds that intellect, character, and a broadness of mind are qualities grown by the individual through a wide reading and study of the subjects of the day, and the history of mankind. It is a human process that results in deep understanding. It is – to a certain extent – disciplined cultivation of an objective mind.
Bildung is at the heart of The Warfighting Society – just as it was at the heart of Scharnhorst and his Military Society. For us, our education is continuing, not a continuum. There is no traditional “end.”
Our education is self-directed. We study broad histories and memoirs, great Captains, social sciences and organizational methods to broaden our mind and make us more sound applicants of force.
"Military leaders are not technicians--their education is not confined to rote memorization and practical techniques."
Our education is social. Solitary study is subject to a one-sidedness that produces operational prejudices and ill temperament when challenged. We seek a ‘community of communities.’
Warfighting Societies organize and dissolve as our members move to and from duty stations. But it is always social.
Our education is shared. We bond and debate over the love of effective, focused organizations that can defend its nation. We help and aid society members because our ‘togetherness’ and pursuit of excellence is based in mutual support. We teach each other because a broad education is largely absent from our professional lives.
Our Bildung is the heart of this society.
Warfare is not the realm of automatons – not yet at least. Military leaders are not technicians – their education is not confined to rote memorization and practical techniques. We must develop our Bildung to inoculate ourselves against the uncertain, to keep a broad view, to keep pursuing deeper understanding, and to keep attacking.