Reflections


A year ago I wrote a reflection on what next after the death of god. Time flies fast!

I promise to keep this post shorter than the one linked above.

Today’s reflection is on education. In several blog posts and comment sections, I have always said education is the key to solving humanity’s problems. One would easily ask me when we seem to have so many literate people and the human race seems to be on a path to destroy itself?

I am think that education of the youth, as now constituted, in many places around the globe is useless. It is the kind of education that teaches people arithmetic, a bit of chemistry and some world history. The students end up memorizing the date the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima but not why. This educated halfwit would, if they could, repeat the mistakes that led to Hiroshima for they learnt nothing in school. This in my view isn’t education.

The purpose of education, in my view, is to make men and women good citizens. It should train them to hold fear in contempt, to treat everything they hear with a healthy dose of skepticism, to know the meaning of justice, beauty and truth. Most of all, I think a good education should help the student to know themselves.

It is a useless education that fills the mind of a 12-year-old with useless facts without teaching them how to act. How to live with others. I have in my days met children who can recite all chapters of bible passages but would not know how to judge a simple matter of justice between them. I sympathize with all the Muslims who think it is great learning to commit the Koran to memory. How useless an endeavour!

Let the focus of our educational institutions change. Let us emulate the style of Lycurgus that had the Athenians boys taught to be men before they could learn to be orators. Let us not waste their youth with useless stories as who or when the earth was created. That they can learn later in life. Dialectics is useless for the formation of character.

There is philosophy for the youth; the value of truth, beauty, courage, justice, self-determination that will go a long way in forming better citizens than how many stars are there in the night sky. There are many people who know so much about the distant stars and nothing about themselves, no wonder they are such dull company.

I may not make a good teacher, but I believe, a good education is a step forward to improving the lot of everyone or of most people the world over.

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

52 thoughts on “Reflections

  1. My dad always said knowledge is power. Education is the best way to get early knowledge. Couldn’t agree more.

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  2. Mordanicus says:

    Children should learn the following competences: to weigh, to analyse and to evaluate.

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  3. Superb. Couldn’t agree more.

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  4. >>> “The purpose of education, in my view, is to make men and women good citizens.”

    I couldn’t agree more. What’s happening now in America, and I suspect elsewhere as well, is the co-opting of education as a means to produce not good citizens but obedient workers.

    On a side note, I recently had a discussion with a Christian-turned-Atheist regarding the possible social consequences of some revelation which might empirically disprove the concept of god(s). I asked her how she thought she might have reacted to such a revelation when she was still a Christian. She replied that she thought she would probably have been devastated and gone into a state of depression. The question came up during a speculative exchange about government secrecy (i.e. Would people in power release that kind of information assuming that they had it?). It was a very interesting conversation.

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  5. Hariod Brawn says:

    I like your alternative curriculum OM, and would add that teaching children how to think – reason, logic etc. – might serve them very well. Perhaps this is accommodated in what you refer to as ‘philosophy’?

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  6. Yes education should be an integral part in every society. And education isn’t just recanting what one’s memorized or how one can speak and write grammatically “correct”- I agree! The definition of education and manner of which it is taught needs revisited to more experiential instead of knowledge absorption and learning the answers to a test to obtain a piece of paper with a title. You cannot learn without experience- and it is best teacher! An example: editors and English majors, etc…that means that proper and grammatically and punctually correct language is not always the “right” language and does not mean one is more educated (and more intelligent specifically) if one uses said “proper” form of language. Those who “preach” grammar being correct etc inhibit “free speech” (that’s just a little of my own input and my soapbox). Screw grammar- I can say and type how and what I want when I want 😳😂 what a boring world without mistakes and colloquial language 😉😄 (probably spelled stuff wrong and had a million grammar issues but that’s the beauty of it- I’m not an editor (and I don’t want one or want to be one)- that’s their damn job…just sayin) 😏😋 Might or might not be directing to a certain WP person who puts themselves high on the intellectual GRAMMAR pedestal 😜😇

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    • Linden, I agree. Students are bored shitless in school because, in general, they are not being guided to learn but to memorize, so that they can pass standardized tests, so that the schools can get further funding by the government, so that they can further teach students to memorize.

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      • It’s a vicious cycle I know 😣😏 I am debating whether to put my oldest in public school or try for charter school. I can’t afford private school- it’s worse than college tuition! 😳 and home school doesn’t give the social interaction that is vital for development- I don’t want my girls in a bubble either. Not many good educational options 😔

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        • makagutu says:

          I think home schooling would do just as well. There are many occasions for social interaction even in the home that would train the child to be sociable. It is not about how many people they interact with but how they interact.

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          • I never thought about it in this light- very good insights! Thank you! I have been detered from home schooling because all I have ever seen home school in my parts are fundamentalists who think atheists are taking over so they’re all paranoid and keep their kids locked up from the scary atheists LOL (I’m laughing because it’s ridiculous but I’m serious here) 🙈

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          • makagutu says:

            We learn something new everyday.
            You know there are kids out there in public schools with other kids but never learn to socialize. So if you can give your kids a good background before they go to college for career training, they will already be good citizens

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          • Yes there are still some “normal” people that come out of home schooling- (normal as in not backwards and shy). Blake Griffin (NBA LA Clippers) was home schooled and look at him! Very talented and skilled athlete despite not being on a team prior to college.

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          • makagutu says:

            I think the problem with home schooling, from what I have read in most articles, is most of it is centred towards making children stupid soldiers of christ

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          • Yes and keeping them away from evolution and any other kids that their parents teach them anything that goes against the Bible. I have told you I worship Jesus and follow his teachings. I can’t intellectually explain my faith and belief in him in particular- often times I realize it makes no sense but it does bring me personal peace and gives me solace. I push it on no one. But the difference between my personal belief and the fundamentalist belief- is I’m not running around sheltering my children from other ideologies or lack thereof. I wasn’t sheltered and I don’t want my girls to be either- I want them to find their own faith and path. If their life includes Jesus or does not include Jesus I will love them just the same. I know you understand that and I appreciate you don’t give me a hard time 😉😊😎 that’s why I thought you were bad ass and I enjoy your blog because you’re very sound and open minded to everyone! That’s how we should all be! ❤️ Thanks for having a cool ass blog 😄😎

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          • makagutu says:

            Linden, I am the nice atheist on the block though I don’t like advertising it😀
            I have no problem with any believer who admits beforehand I believe, I can’t explain why and I don’t expect you to believe on my say so. Such a person is my friend.
            Thanks for the compliments

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          • That’s sweet thanks! 😊😎

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      • makagutu says:

        This explains why the world is full of educated idiots. The memorize for exams and forget as soon as the test is done

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    • makagutu says:

      Hahahaha.
      You are right linden, even on the screw grammar.
      Education curricula should be revisited to make it education more meaningful to students

      Liked by 1 person

      • 😆 I have no time for BS grammar- only time to bitch about it LOL
        Yes we have lost sight of the students in this- they should constantly guide and help education evolve

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        • makagutu says:

          Maybe teachers should follow Socrates. He always let his students speak first then they would move on from there

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          • That’s what law schools here use- Socratic method and I agree it should be used across the board as a general educational philosophy and implementation. Every person has a unique learning style- and the Socratic method enables each unique style.

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    • I would disagree a bit. I find that grammar and standard definitions of words are very useful for knowing what someone means and that allows humans to communicate. I would guess that even you would only go so far to “screw grammar” because if you didn’t use it, few would understand you at all.

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  7. john zande says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more.

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    • makagutu says:

      Moments of inspiration, I don’t know if it is from a god though

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      • john zande says:

        Just your inner god, the “real” god 🙂

        Of course, the ideal you speak of is shared by many, but the compliant I hear is that it is difficult to implement in mass-public schooling. I guess there’s a certain truth to this, but it doesn’t excuse the writing of a curriculum that encourages and rewards short-term memory, rather than the refinement of a young human being.

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        • makagutu says:

          Is the ideal or this should be the basic? I see small children shipped off to school when they can hardly wipe their behinds to join the bandwagon of school goers. It is a sad situation if you ask me

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          • john zande says:

            Sadly, production lines are quantifiable, and governments (the world over, excluding Bhutan) have erred on the side of the “quantifiable.” Scandinavian countries, though, have done exceptionally well in education, so we do have a model of how it can work.

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          • makagutu says:

            I know and education is big business

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  8. Sonel says:

    Very well said Mak and I totally agree with you. 😀

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  9. fabryhistory says:

    Totally agree – I wish everyone felt the same way about education!

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