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

10 comments:

King Sulleyman Bachiesichang, University Chancellor, Ghana said...

I cannot imagine a discussion of this sort been done better, a remarkable achievement to cover so much with such a great concision.

Thanks

King Sulleyman Bachiesichang
University Chancellor
Crown University College
Author of Bachiesichang Dictionary of English Errors

Patrico Solis, Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil said...

Wonderful article (Eternal Feelings).

Now to be humane depends on many factors, some are genetics, like your temperament, others are learned through your family and exposure to the environment, like character and personality. Now to use these factors properly, specially using the concept of "putting yourself in place of the other", will give you solutions to deal with others and thus becoming more humane.

Dr.Stephen M. Sweid, Dr.Sweid Research and Consulting, United Arab Emirates said...

I appreciate very much the depth of the topic.

I just would like to emphasize your take regarding universities teaching politics or even law. I have never seen a politician who does not lie! We can even include business studies too, where harsh competition is the key issue, irrespective of the outcome concerning the others. Maybe 50% of what they teach you in selling is acting and manipulating others. Where is the ethics? How come there is no business ethics university? Nobody wants it!

Ajay Sanghrajka, Engineering Consultancy, Mumbai, India said...

Humane factor is taught theoretically but putting it into practice or practicals are to be carried out by individual. It rightly depends upon genetics. Even that changes with challenges faced and altered perceptions of self in the varying situation. Application of the knowledge and self confidence makes a difference.

A large enough topic to be shared here.Right topic to pour info.

Suman Saran Sinha, CMC. said...

Thanks Stephen for asking my take on the topic. In my article I have raised concern about the education system as a whole and the way it is structured worldwide. Lawyers and politicians are products of the same system.

Without teaching ethics and moral values as compulsory subjects right from the stage of elementary to high school, it would be useless to educate people with higher degrees. They may become a part of the blue collar or white collared work force but cannot become a nice human being.

In the absence of these values people become greedy, arrogant, self centered, selfish and inhumane which results in mental strife, creates unrest in personal as well as social lives. And gradually the whole world gets affected.

Ethics and moral values cannot be taught when a person becomes a politician or lawyer but needs to be ingrained or embedded at a tender age. That is the age when programming of our mind begins. This should be continued until high school or university as compulsory subjects focusing on the importance of these values in the making of our personal and social lives. These values help us in focusing inward and looking deep into our character and behavior which may have far reaching effects in our personal and social lives and correct them if necessary.

People may obtain the highest degrees or work at high positions on the basis of these degrees, but in the absence of ethics and moral values they remain illiterate mentally, ethically, morally and socially. That is why I have called them degree holders instead of educated people in my article.

James (Jim) Chester, CMC, Toronto, Canada said...

Dear Suman

I enjoyed reading your blog today on knowledge of various types and its impact … or lack of impact to ‘changing the way a person thinks’

You have been doing a lot of thinking about this.

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 behavior for making us a better human being.

But when I ‘look deep inside our self’ it is not a present picture!

I would contribute the view that it is the soul …. Sometimes referred to as the heart is the origination for thoughts in the mind and actions by the body. ..

The Q is how to change a man’s heart? How to change my perspective?

The God in Bible has a lot to say on how to change a man’s heart. This is the central story line in the Bible.

Ezekiel 36:26-27 (Old Testament) God’s word says: I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh and I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

The Apostle Paul in the New Testament wrote much on this important topic.

Romans 12:2 - Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Suman – I enjoyed your article. A lot of thought went into writing it.

Her Worship Mayor Hazel McCallion, Office of the Mayor, City of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. said...

Dear Mr. Sinha:

I appreciate you sending me a copy of your article as the topic of education is certainly an important issue in today’s society and one which affects us all. The objective of education is not merely to take in knowledge but to put into action what one has learned for the betterment of mankind. I agree with you that education should incorporate both technical knowledge and training and instruction in areas involving morality, ethics and humanity in order to provide a more rewarding and enriching educational experience and in terms of personal development and I appreciate your position that educators have an important role to play in this regard.

Once again, thank you for taking the time and effort to write to me and I wish you all the best in the future.

Sincerely,

HAZEL McCALLION, C.M., LL.D.
MAYOR

Anonymous said...

A very good insight suman.

I wish you well in your quest to encourage the inclusion of inner training in the education system through out is very much needed.

Kevin

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr.Sinha

Thanks for the note and article. I went through it. Message you have captured has been enunciated by Swami Vivekananda across the span of his writings where has laid emphasis on man making and character building education for our youth, selflessness and doing work for work's sake. Your article would serve to remind people of that, and set them on the course of introspection and self transformation.

Warm Regards,
Sachin

Anonymous said...

Suman Ji ,
Once again thank you so much for the mentally , spiritually uplifting write up.You have taken enormous time and effort to research into the subject and come up with such a thoughtful write up

It is so amazing to see the number of people that we interact in our daily lives and even though they are well educated and professional , yet they lack the very essence of humanism .These individuals by virtue of their skill and education are positioned in high ranking places and the only aim in their lives is to earn more and layout a cushiony and comfortable lives to their families, near and dear ones and yet it's so shameful that they never found time to develop their inner self- which is basically looking into oneself and developing morally and spiritually or I may say holistically ...having said that I have no shame in adding what an example they are setting to their next generation .It is so right to say -"If you want to change the fruits, you will first have to change the roots. If you want to change the visible, you must first change the invisible.”

Let`s not forget that self development is a life long process and its never too late to introspect and transform oneself.

"Let him who would move the world first move himself"~ Socrates

Thanks & Regards
Shubhra Sen

Post a Comment