Oct 28, 2012

PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION


Education is a sacred word which initiates the process of learning and educating one’s mind. It develops the power of reasoning, empowers a person to be articulate by channelizing and dressing up thoughts. It provides tools and techniques to choose words for oral presentations. A person acquires a body of knowledge in the process of being educated. It provides an enlightening experience and in the process dispels the darkness of the mind. It has the divine touch which changes ones perspective of life the way one thinks and acts in their daily lives.  It activates the sense of inquisitiveness to satisfy reasons behind happenings around us. The process of education creates a library system in the brain for retrieving the information as and when required. Education provides ability to analyzing in logical ways and finding methods of rationalizing illogical thoughts. It also enhances the analytical capacity of the brain.

Modern Computer and our brain:
If we define the process of education in modern computer language then it means that the fields or areas of study are software which we programme in a hard disk that is our brain. Therefore the response of the brain depends upon the software loaded in our brain. This software’s keep running into the file systems made of neurons and axons. The way a computer cannot respond to our request if the particular file is not present in the system, the same way we are ignorant of the knowledge of a particular area which we have not studied.  The sharing of knowledge between different file systems provides us the power of logical reasoning and in order to do so, related files must be present in our library system made of neurons. A file or information stored in our brain cannot be retrieved in time, if the registry or the information’s stored in neurons are corrupt and needs recovery or defragmentation by way channelizing thoughts and upgrading the process of thinking.

Now the process of programming our brain and creating different file systems depend upon the schools and universities we attend to acquire the knowledge. Every school or group of schools or universities are different in the world. The subject may be the same but the method of teaching and imparting knowledge may vary. It also depends on which educational system puts emphasis on which part of the knowledge. In turn our nature and behaviour is also programmed according to the purpose and programme of the schools. If it has the purpose to promote social or moral values or scientific advancements or vocational training's or religious teachings then the entire curriculum is influenced to suit the knowledge. If the purpose is to promote hatred or universal brotherhood then the mind gets programmed accordingly. By the time one reaches high school their brain is already programmed as per the standard, or curriculum or purpose of the school. The environment in which we live also makes substantial impact in the programming of our brain.

Education System:
Once a person goes to university then the areas of specialization starts and the person gets the certification in those areas of education. In turn the person becomes an expert in that particular subject. Upon further pursuing of study or specialization by doing research a person becomes an expert in a specific area of the research and is awarded a doctorate degree.  Since a doctorate degree or other professional degrees emphasises specialization in that particular field for the purpose of getting a job or earning a livelihood depending upon the demand and supply, it may be presumed that a person is void of other areas of knowledge important for knowing the world and the self.

Furthermore, even after acquiring knowledge of highest degree, if the effect of the knowledge is not visible in the person’s personality, action and behaviour then the person may be knowledgeable book wise but foolish otherwise. He or she remains uneducated as far as the development of the mind is concerned. The purpose of education is to change one’s nature, behaviour and perspective of life. It must change radically the way a person thinks. After acquiring masters or doctorate degrees, if people at large remain conservative, prejudiced, chauvinist, radical, hypocritical, fundamentalist, fanatics, unfair, unjust, unreasonable, opinionated, judgmental and intolerant and have other ills such as anger, ego, jealousy, hatred and behavioral problems, then I think they are still illiterate and they have studied books of a particular subject to obtain degree only or for the purpose of name, fame or money.

The purpose of education:
The purpose of education is not only to earn a livelihood but to educate the mind to the extent that it helps people understand complexities of the world and analyze their own true nature for further improvement. It makes a person more humane, compassionate, affectionate, tolerant, understanding, open minded, supportive, adjustable, unselfish, unbiased, giving, caring and benevolent. Besides knowledge of the subject, truly educated people develop the ability to control their ego, anger, hatred and jealousy. These people can understand reasons of their being in this world; they are humble, down to earth and their nature becomes mellow. They will never brag or showcase themselves. If these qualities are not visible even after acquiring a masters or doctorate degree, then the person may be educated from the worldly point of view but may remain uneducated from the personification point of view. 

Education should change people's outlook and how they perceive the world. Their perspicacity of the world and fellow human beings should set them apart between an educated and non educated being. However I have also seen enlightened people having no school or university degrees. My premise behind the above statement is based on my belief that generally people acquire knowledge or degrees only to earn livelihood and not to educate and take their mind to higher levels. An educated mind must have a control on human ills and weaknesses. Majority of uneducated people have less control on their emotions and behaviour and that is the reason of hostility between the people and nations around the world. And if these hostile characteristics or radical thinking is still there even after getting the doctorate degree then it has been a total waste of the education system and defies the purpose of education.

Types of knowledge:
Therefore knowledge or education can be divided into two parts:

  1. Outer World Knowledge: Knowing the outside world together with particular subject or subjects and specialize in that subject in order to earn a livelihood.
Personal interest, demand and supply, or market economics dictates the selection of a program or vocational course. Generally every faculty of study is measured in terms of financial returns. If after the graduation one cannot get a job then the education has no value. Therefore the purpose of education revolves around the degree of financial or social success and it may be divided into the following categories:

  1. Specialization in a particular subject in order to profess (teachers, professors, mentors, trainers etc)
  2. Specialization in a particular vocation to practice (lawyers, doctors, engineers, business, management, experts, specialists etc)
  3. Specialization in a particular area of science or arts to profess or practice (researchers, scientists, music, dance, drama, theater, skilled persons etc)
Hence the entire gambit of education revolves around becoming something so that one can become socially or financially successful or learn something so that people can understand the ways of the world and survive. The entire focus is worldly and outward.

  1. Inner World Knowledge: Knowing the self, who we are and looking deep inside ourselves in order to realize truth of the life while having a control on our temperament, ego, emotions and behaviour for making us a better human being.
Difference between the outer and inner world knowledge:
Our education system teaches us how to survive in this world and to know and understand the outside world which we perceive from our five senses, whereas, the knowledge of inner world empowers us to look within our mind and enjoy the spiritual experiences of life. The outer world knowledge provides us the understanding of the surrounding environment whereas the inner world knowledge provides us the understanding of our inherent nature. The application of outside world knowledge is full with stress, anxiety and loss of peace whereas the application of inner world knowledge provides a state of tranquility, calmness and peacefulness. The outcome of the outer world knowledge is temporary or lasts until that particular knowledge or vocation is in demand whereas the inner world knowledge is everlasting. The capacity of the outer world knowledge is limited and it becomes obsolete with the time or becomes useless once a person retires from the job or active social life whereas the inner world knowledge remains with the person and makes the path of salvation clearer and stronger as the time passes.

One may argue that the knowledge of inner world cannot provide us meals or means for survival. That is why I have emphasized the importance of true or real education so that while getting outer world knowledge, one can explore the inner horizon to fine tune their nature and behaviour to make them a person of excellence. Without this any amount of worldly education will not make a person kind, tolerant and understanding.

Subject Matter Expert vs. Educated Person:
Generally people get confused between a subject matter expert and an educated person. A subject matter expert is an expert in that particular area of knowledge whereas he or she may be absolutely blank in other areas of knowledge vital for understanding the world and the environment in which we live. For example, I had a chance to discuss the subjects of Para normal activities or subjects which falls under the purview of the meta-physics or chirology or astrological science with several educated and socially successful people. I never studied these subjects in schools or university but my inquisitiveness in knowing the world led me to make some research. To my dismay their answer has been that they do not believe. By not having a belief does not write-off the fact that these areas of study or faculty of science do exists.  It is their ignorance that they have not studied and out of their ego or vanity they do not want to accept their existence. Unless people are inquisitive enough and have interests in studying other areas of knowledge and taking their mind to higher levels than the levels of knowing their own vocation only, it would be difficult to presume that people have sufficiently tried to educate themselves.


The role of educational institutions:
My belief on the above reasoning is further fortified due to the lack of proper education system. Majority of schools and universities including the top ones are focused on teaching students basic or specialized information about outer world knowledge. Very few of them teach how to look within; how to improve or fine tune personal nature and behaviour to develop humanely qualities and how to overcome greed, jealousy, indifference, anger, hatred and selfishness. This is the reason that even after having a masters, PHD degree or gold medal, people working at high places including government departments, public and private sectors, have no control on their greed and unsolicited desire. Many of the so called educated people or degree holders on high positions around the world are rampantly indulged in corruption, nepotism, racism and favoritism without caring for human values.

The Oxford dictionary defines education as the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university: a course of education, an enlightening experience, a body of knowledge while being educated.

Therefore to sum up, if the process of education could not bring the enlightening experience and the body of knowledge does not include knowing the self and intricate sciences which makes a dominant impact on our lives and if our minds do not go to higher levels by shunning ego, anger, hatred and jealousy and if we do not become humble, down to earth, free of all biasness, loving, compassionate and understanding then an enlightening experience has not taken place and our body of knowledge is also incomplete. Therefore I would categorize ourselves as uneducated degree holders.

I look forward to your valuable comments for further enlightenment of our minds on the subject.

Suman Saran Sinha, CMC
A pursuer of logical quest