At dinner last night, I had an image of free education (as you do).
It was rather like those wild-eyed and enthused people who stand on soap boxes and talk at the tips of their voices about something that is meaningful to them.
I think my vision involved Socrates; although it could have been Plato or another of the philosophers who spent their time down the Forum spilling out their wisdom, without pay. Doubtless, they were wealthy because your average slave wouldn't have survived the trip down to the Forum without being carted off by his master and because, other than lifetime-taught knowledge, they were kept ignorant.
Post-image I did what I often do. I went surfing. Not the kind with big waves. The kind with radio waves or microwaves or whatever the net uses.
"The word 'education' is derived from the root word 'educare'. Education refers to acquiring information from outside while 'educare' means to bring out or to elicit that which is inside. Man should bring out the sacred qualities latent in his heart and put them into practice. The worldly education that you pursue and the jobs that you undertake are related to the head. They are subject to change. But the human values like compassion, forbearance, truth, which originate from the heart, are changeless."
I am always thinking about this, but seldom organising the words to say it. If you do not have a moral and spiritual base on which to stand, you are an animal. A sentient animal, maybe. A clever animal, perhaps. But still an animal. Inhuman and inhumane.
From home educated roots grow values like compassion, forbearance, truth, vision, enthusiasm and empathy as well as spirituality. That is, I believe that home education is the one sure place where young people can grow into themselves and grow into their humanity.
" Education should transform man into one of compassion. It should not make him stone-hearted. Once a Britisher found Mahatma Gandhi in a very dejected mood and asked him for the reason. Gandhi replied, "The hard-heartedness of the educated makes me feel sad." He was worried about the current education system, which was making man stone-hearted. True education is that which fosters compassion and love and ultimately leads man to divinity. Such education is the need of the hour.
Can one be called educated just because one knows how to read and write?
Does mere acquisition of college degrees make one truly educated?
Can that which has no moral and spiritual values be called education at all?
If education is meant only for a living, don't we find the birds and the beasts living without any education ?
Looking at our world, we can see why Gandhi might be depressed with the hard-heartedness of the educated. We know he wasn't speaking about home educated people - he spoke of the products of 'free' schools.
"When, on seeing someone in pain, you feel the urge to relieve it, when your heart melts at the misery of your fellow beings, then you are a true human being."
Are we now true humans? Are we? There is a government in power now seeking to reduce the deficit, and reducing so many people to despair and illness for which they (the people) alone will be blamed because, if you are poor, it is your fault in the view of our leaders. If you are poor, you must be punished. If you are poor, you must suffer for your poverty, as if poverty were itself a religion.
"Modern education has become artificial. True education is that which inculcates in the students the noble qualities like truth, devotion, discipline, compassion and sense of duty. What is the use of possessing high intelligence if one lacks virtues? Mere intelligence is not enough. Is not a fox also intelligent? Intelligence should be coupled with virtues."
What is the use of being human if we treat our fellow humankind like secondary citizens? What is the point of having a brain and thinking if we label our co-travellers on this earth as losers or scroungers? There is so much plenty to go around everyone yet most people struggle and strain to live a reasonable life, not even a good life.
Why do we elevate the pursuit and conquest of money to the status of a god while abasing and debasing mankind?
All quotations from
True Education Leads to Divinity