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.