Dec 02, 2023
Dec 02, 2023
by T. A. Ramesh
Modern economic thoughts of many nations are giving much importance to the material values at the expense of human values. Hence money has become more important than anything else for most of the men in the modern world. The thought on social development has lost its relevance. Corruption, malpractices, favoritism and superstition have taken the place of honesty, sincerity, integrity and reason. Between the two ' Education and Money ' man's mind embraces the latter once one knows a little about Letters and Numbers. So, where is the time for man to have the pleasure of learning useful Arts even?
Education for Freedom
Long ago Alexander Pope has said in his essay, On Criticism that 'a little learning is a dangerous thing.' It is a true statement applicable to most of the men even today. Achieving the materialistic End through any Means has become the Aim of everyone! Hence man has not bothered about liberty or love either. The sole thought of man is that he could buy everything or solve all human problems in the world with Money. In the modern times most of the men are so immature that they have become victims of evils like Money, Drinks or Drugs and Sex not knowing how to get rid of them. The forces of fear, anger, lust, greediness, suspicion and hatred have driven them down to the levels of beasts. Ignorance and new diseases are catching them unaware while they are hurrying in pursuit of their ends through incomplete and immature means. Actually people are living and working like slaves under the influence of this or that evil without any hope of liberation in the world. So, what is most needed now is an education for freedom from such evils that are listed above so that everyone can live as freely and happily as the birds flying in the sky.
But the individual liberty at the expense of the social liberty is intolerable and uncalled for in the society. A little bit of the curtailment of the individual liberty in order to maintain the social liberty as per the view of A.G. Gardiner in On the Rule of the Road is quite acceptable. The rules are there to protect the liberty of all. The individuals have to be careful about their behavior and discipline in the society so that the hard earned freedom of the country can be enjoyed by all and maintained forever for the social good. The pretensions and the insolent behavior of the individuals cannot be tolerated in any society. The uneducated or the half educated people without knowing how to behave, pretend by aping others in the society.
It is mainly due to these men the social liberty is always in jeopardy. To understand the value of freedom and how it has to be used for the betterment of all, a systematic education is very essential. The systematic education only can build up the character and strengthen the mind of everyone in the school level. Then the college education has to give opportunities to augment the intellectual power of each and everyone. The improvement of the body and the mind is possible by games and books. The development of the spirit is possible by the deep contemplation or meditation over the truth of the all pervading Universe. The proper use of the body, the mind and the spirit is possible only with the attainment of true knowledge. Therefore knowledge alone can eliminate ignorance and fear in everyone.
The educational background would enable everyone to understand the value of love and friendship that later on would help much to increase the happiness and the peace of the world. Therefore the systematic education is necessary for all whether one is an intelligent or a steady individual and through this kind of education only freedom of the body, the mind and the spirit is really attainable by everyone. Hence it has to be noted that the education could train everyone as how to lead a better life rather than to make profit in the jobs of deceiving innocent men in the society.
Need of Culture in Education
The education that does not provide much scope for the understanding of Human Nature, Culture, Literature and Social Life but gives more importance to the attainment of knowledge in Scientific, Engineering and Economic courses and adequate opportunities to the studies of Commerce, History and Geography will only turn out immature and incomplete citizens in huge quantities. The uncultured way of bringing up people will gradually or otherwise turn the direction of human civilization in the reverse order. The result will be quite horrible to think about as in the Brave New World by Aldous Huxley or Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell. As in the post war periods i.e. just after the two World Wars people with indifferent attitude, insensible nature and inhuman approach will increase in more numbers and will create strange situations and problems as depicted in the poem, The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot which will jeopardize the peaceful functioning of the world.
Through education what are most expected and needed are a society of individuals with human value and not a herd of machine-beast-like-men who aspire for high achievements in terms of material value only. The education that kindles the individuals to aspire for the cultural advancement in life enriches human value in the world and this alone can lead men towards perfection, which has the power to appreciate beauty in everything, bring out the truth in everything, disseminate love and joy everywhere and manifest divinity everywhere. This is what expected of sincere individuals to accomplish in life. For them, true knowledge comes of the intellectual understanding of the Self and the World. This is certainly reliable as True Knowledge alone can reveal what for one is born in the world and what duty one has to perform both for one's Self and the World. That is why knowledge is virtue and power for men in general. In this respect the ideas of The Republic and The Bhagavad-Gita are relevant and still useful.
Cultivate habit to Think in Education
Whenever the issue of knowledge arises, immediately the idea of the institutional education comes to the forefront of the mind. It is well noticed that educational institutions impart the same sort of knowledge which have been experimented and experienced by the past personalities without having direct reference to the all round developments of the world, the need of the hour and the interest of the knowledge seekers. As a result, such institutionally fed knowledge has neither any relevance nor use for the future developments of the educated and the educational degrees on the hand nor serve as sure licenses for getting satisfying jobs too. What is needed actually from such a sort of education is the cultivation of the habit for the learners to think independently and work with pleasure in future in a creative manner that are in reality out of the range of the present day educational institutions. So, after the education, everyone has to get oneself trained in a line or faculty so that one can work hard with some hope and pull on in life. Otherwise it would be very difficult for anyone to stand on in life.
That is the out come or the sorry state of affair of the education for the present day educated. But the lucky few who have tasted the pleasure of pondering over things of their own interests or truths just in moments of enthusiasm due to some unexpectedly favorable circumstances, there will be a great world of wonders waiting for them to explore, discover, invent and create. Such few lucky persons only are capable of analyzing what they have studied to find out whether there is truth in them or not, preserving things of interest or rejecting irrelevant things contrary to their convictions and developing upon the preserved knowledge some new ideas or truths with pleasure are the really learned men, who can go ahead freely and independently with a spirit of adventure in any field in the world.
Learning of Arts
Learning makes one civilized. Through learning and practice men of culture maintain human values which are essential for keeping up the harmony of human life in the changing world. But Art and Science help all human beings to develop themselves and the world to a great extent in the present age. Art is the source of inspiration for human beings. All arts are within the scope of men's learning. It is impossible to learn all arts. But some basic arts are useful both for the life and the works of men. Speaking, Reading and Writing are the vital and essential basic skills everyone has to learn. The purpose of education is to impart the knowledge of such skills and to give trainings in those lines to everyone in such a way that individual natural talent of each one can be successfully expressed by oneself for the satisfaction of oneself and others in the world.
Art of Writing Important
Among the basic arts, the art of writing is most important. The art of writing is the expression of assimilated thoughts, imagination, feelings, experience, knowledge and so on through writing. From the written articles a person's personality can be understood. The clarity of written expression tells the stage of perfection of a person. Hence education gives more importance to the written works than to the oral answers in the examinations before one is considered for promotion to a higher stage or a qualification in a line. Even in the Court of Law the cases are mainly judged upon the evidence of the written facts. The famous essayist Francis Bacon has also stated in his essay, Of Studies that 'Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man and writing an exact man.' The more writing is most important the more it is difficult to practice too.
To learn new things or get ideas one has to read, understand, observe and think well. One, who knows how to make use of the books in the library and to read magazines and news papers, will be capable of achieving anything in the world. Before or after writing anything the intelligent way of reading relevant books is very essential. But before or after reading, thinking is a must for everyone. For doing anything thoughts are most important. A good education trains the mind as to how to think clearly and in a disciplined manner which helps to lead a cultured life. The cultured way of living is to think about the best things, to talk about the best things and to do the best things in the world. For leading such a noble life knowing the truth of things and making such truth prevail in the world are most important and essential. Therefore one who is capable of ascertaining truth in everything or whatever things one reads, hears, sees and feels, will be a true intellectual.
Educated and Learned
Through education many men have gained knowledge. But there are also self taught men in the world. The former type is considered as the educated men and the latter type as the learned men. The main differences between these types of men of knowledge lie in understanding, expressing and doing the things. To put it plain the thoughts, the words and the deeds of the former are within the frame work of a discipline, which is doubtful or lacking in those of the latter.
The educated men should have had a lot of opportunities to expose themselves to a wide range of subjects, to suitable games and other interesting activities, which all have molded them into objective intellectuals interested in a variety of subjects. Due to discipline and order in their activities, they are functioning like the well regulated river water flowing through canals to all the fields till the last drop of it is beneficially used for multipurpose. But the self taught men might not have had enough opportunities to get experience in various fields except in the narrow subject of their own interest and hence it is quite natural to observe that their activities are similar to that of forest river water flowing at random benefiting some fields and creating havoc to some other fields, or simply entering the ocean without benefiting the land.
Nevertheless there were self taught geniuses too. But it is absolutely impossible to expect all self taught men to become geniuses. Geniuses are rare in the world. Their intellectual power over-shadows their emotion. Among ordinary men the emotion is more powerful than the intellect. Therefore whether one is learned or educated the rise and fall of one is totally depending upon the nature of one's thoughts, dreams, desires and ambition only.
Thinking and Talent
Every human being whether one is literate or illiterate is considered to have six senses. Only when one uses the sixth sense i.e. the capacity to think, one will be considered to be a rational being. If one fails to use this sense, one will naturally be equal to that of a beast. Thinking is not an easy thing. Thinking requires a clear head and most of all a calm and serene atmosphere. Thinking is very much needed for solving a problem in Mathematics or proving a rider, theorems in Geometry or understanding natural phenomenon or principles in Science. A good education gives a sound basis for everyone to think logically or scientifically to understand the subjects. Therefore only when one thinks well, one can understand; only when one remembers well one can use anything effectively well. That is why thinkers are less in the world and true thinkers are rare.
Memory may be a boon to many (Macaulay). But memory alone cannot make anyone a great thinker. Many people memorize lessons, write exams, get hold of a University Degree and soon forget what they have studied so long. Because they have not understood the subject through proper thinking, they cannot remember what they have studied and use beneficially in life and work. Such literates are equivalent to illiterates only. That is why there are a large number of unemployed Degree holders.
This is not the purpose of education. The purpose of education, to put it specifically, is 1. to give practice to everyone to think clearly in order to understand anything, 2. to make one to discover what is ones interest, talent and in what subject one will be best at through thinking and to gain and develop knowledge in that line and 3. to make anyone to use such knowledge in ones duty in order to express out ones talent in life.
An English critic, Matthew Arnold has said in his Essay, The Study of Poetry that 'poetry is the criticism of life.' Literature is the fine expression about life. The critical thinking is essential to express accurate opinions basing the experiments and experiences of men in the world. The accurate opinions are the essence of facts. The true facts are the knowledge useful for the betterment of men in their life and activities. Such critical thinkers are generally lonely persons in the world. Their problems are mainly the reactions of their own mind. They critically analyze the pros and cons of every matter to ascertain the truth, to discover novel things, to invent or create new things very useful to reduce burdens of men and increase comforts to them. In appearance both the intellectuals and charlatans look to be the same. Usually ordinary men, when they happen to see such intellectuals contemplating deeply in isolation, will certainly brand them as mad men. All the deep thinkers starting from Buddha to Gandhi or Socrates to Churchill had thought about many issues in that manner.
Individual thinking for truth
Socrates is a very often quoted historical personality in this respect. These individuals never relied upon the words of the near ones or the far away ones. They thought by themselves as to why the issues are like that, what was the nature of things and how the things were happening like that or how the things ought to happen, etc. They stood by the knowledge obtained from the truth of things and through intellectual reasoning in a humanistic manner. Their weapon was intellectual knowledge for humanity against any sort of army or wealth. Socrates and Galileo had sacrificed their lives for the truths they had uttered against the then prevailing ideas restricted by politics and religion. The world realized very lately what they had said and then started to think and live in accordance with their thoughts.
Intellectual thoughts and benefits
There were also persons who had calculated as to how many hours they had been actually usefully thinking in a week's time. It is said of G.B. Shaw that he was capable of utilizing two days per week in useful thoughts. He satirized over many important matters of religion, politics and society of his time. He used his intellectual ideas on social reforms in his Dramas which were slowly but surely welcomed by the Government and the people of Britain. The society reformed too. Not only he but many scientists, artists and philosophers have changed the world for the better by their intellectual thoughts, inventions and artistic creations.
Continuation of Intellectual pursuits towards perfection as Culture
In the modern times the world men are living comfortably and enjoying the fruits of the labors or noble efforts of such intellectuals. The scientific inventions like Electric bulbs, Telephone, Television, Rail, Car, Ship, Aero plane, Rockets and so on are the outcome of the thoughts of the great scientific thinkers. Not only by Science but also by Literature, Arts and Philosophy many thinkers have achieved wonderful things for mankind both for the body and the mind. Everyone should know about the great achievements of those great men.
After them too, some more intellectuals like Einstein, Russell, Sir C.V. Raman, Tagore, and Gandhi had done remarkable things in the world. In line with their activities, there are many intellectuals still continuing with the experiments left by those masters in the unfinished stages. It is said that culture is the study of perfection and doing things in the manner and means of such perfection that could be achievable. So, the process of perfection has to be continued by all the intellectuals in order to develop the civilization of mankind. This is all possible only after a fine foundation has been laid through education by responsible educators.
Communication through language
Finally the knowledge about a few languages has to be said. Prior to that usually in any language there prevails a gap between the spoken language and written language. Some write as if they speak and some speak as if they write. It is better to reduce the gap between the two so that the expression of ideas both in the spoken and written forms of language will be quite easy. Therefore the best thing, I can recommend, will be to write things as if they are being spoken to a friend. That is the best method by which the art of writing can be improved well through education.
Through the English language it is possible for everyone to know about the scientific developments and the international understandings, and have cultural ties and friendship with various peoples of the world. Through the National/state language (if there is any) and the mother tongue/vernacular language one can have mutual understandings, good working relationships, and easy communications with everyone in the national level and in the local community level.
Therefore it is very essential to know how to read, write and speak in 1. the World language, 2. the National/state language (if there is one language), and 3. the Mother tongue/vernacular language. With the knowledge of these languages, it is possible for anyone to work effectively and live happily anywhere in the world. Besides this, whether one is a specialist in any branch of a profession or not, if one maintains, according to the changes of time, 1. One's General Knowledge, 2. Common sense and 3. Presence of Mind, one will certainly be a happy and successful person in the world, or at least have an interesting conversation with a variety of individuals whether one is an intellectual or an artist or a scientist or a philosopher or a professional or whatever one is.
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