Learning by Un-learning

Throughout the centuries there were men
who took first steps down new roads
armed with nothing but their own vision
. –  Ayn Rand

We live life, but what have we lived if we have not contributed? What have we lived if we have not revolted and questioned …Why?

Why do humans suffer so much pain? Why aren’t we free in the real sense? Why can’t we think and express the way we want to? Why do we regret so much? Why is there extreme wealth and poverty in the world? Why is there so much unrest and violence? Why are we so greedy and selfish at times? Why are we never happy and satisfied? Why are we always busy and restless? Why have we forgotten to smile and relax? Why is this world becoming an unbearable place to live in?

Look within you.
Look around you.

With time, man has changed drastically, and so has life. There was a time when man actually lived a simple life, close to Mother Nature, learning from her, naturally and instinctively. Man was a naturally intelligent, creative and adventurous being. Today, we have everything in life except time and peace. There are many things that have been ignored in the process of development and advancement of mankind. People worship the creation but have forgotten the creator. With all the technological know-how and sophistication, man seems to have lost his freedom, happiness, innocence and peace of mind. In spite of education, our societies have become closed, complex and homogenous.

People are literate but not educated, sophisticated but not civilized, intelligent but not wise. Freedom is important for it enables us to discover our individuality, which lies at the root of all progress. However, it seems that the very foundation of freedom seems to be under attack. We have independence but just in terms of being able to study, to vote, to work, to marry and so on. But is this the real and the only freedom a man seeks?

There are things that are hard to grasp and even harder to explain, especially to those minds that live in a closed and narrow society as ours. Children are the future caretakers of the present world. Hence they are the most important resource to work upon today so that they can change the world for the better and not worse. Our children are subjected to mental stress and burden from an early age thanks to the present system of education, formal training and examination. An oppressive culture and system is destroying the individuality, character, and innocence of the youth. The education and training centres allow them to think and imagine but within a framework, from a predefined perspective. Exam time means every child is busy cramming and mugging up theories and formulas to get the number one position. School bags are getting bigger and heavier and minds are getting lighter and emptier. Students are subjected to exams that test their memorizing power instead of their aptitude, comprehension and knowledge levels.

This system does not encourage the students to develop a unique identity and ability to be creative. It makes them bother about the end or outcome and not the means or process. The children are made passive thinkers and degree-holders with zero practical knowledge. Thus, in this way, for centuries now, they are suppressed and conditioned to listen to others instead of trust their own instincts, abilities and common sense.

The more we know, the more we learn that we know nothing. It is said that if the student failed to learn, the teacher failed to teach. Are we heading towards destruction and self-harm where on one hand we have children who have forgotten to play and on the other hand we have men who have forgotten to smile? Considering this scenario, we need to ponder upon many things. There are many things to learn from the past and unlearn from the present

Considering the need for real knowledge and creativity, we need good education and learning environment. There is a need of revamping the education sector. If total abandonment of the established system of prevailing education is not practical and possible, then there is a big scope for the private sector to come forward and take a lead in terms of evolving and sustaining in a manner different from the conventional seats of learning. If our ideas and philosophies are different than the conventions, we can impart training and education on such lines that may trigger the natural process of creative thinking and understanding in the students.

A new methodology of teaching and learning can be introduced and implemented wherein the students feel things around them, learn naturally, and work by intuition without pressure or limitations. If the burden of home assignments and formal examinations is removed from the curriculum, the whole process of education can be an enjoyable and a rewarding one. There ought to be a process of learning by doing wherein learning occurs through the natural acts of seeing, hearing and feeling without any compulsion or predefined framework. Learning has to be made enjoyable and an enriching experience. This will lead to creativity, opportunities, inventions, discoveries, and ultimately progress.

Considering the need for peace and simplicity, we need to slow down and enjoy life on a daily basis. Happiness and satisfaction is important for an individual to appreciate life and justify his existence upon earth. We may even have to redefine the concept and meaning of life itself with the changing times. We have to build a new, free society and nation that recognizes the worth of an individual and lets him live on his own terms and conditions; a society free of corruption and evils, wherein the cultural ties of a citizen are strengthened with his roots, home, and history. We need an environment wherein people thrive on happiness, compassion and equality. This is necessary in order to develop man’s interiority, sense of belonging and progressive thinking. A large-scale social transformation is needed, primarily through real education, social consciousness and economic reforms. We need to let go of some things in order to hold on to many things.

To be nobody - but yourself –
in a world which is doing its best,
night and day,
to make you everybody else –
means to fight the hardest battle
which any human being can fight,
and never stop fighting
. – E. E. Cummings


More by :  Naira Yaqoob

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