Saturday, 8 December 2007

The Bankrupt Educational System

In the era we live in – an era of bankruptcy of ideas, principles and values – the educational system has been the first to be infected by the lethal virus of confusion as to what is right and wrong, logical or absurd, beneficial or harmful for individuals and society as a whole. 

Contemporary educational system is the great patient of our day, whether we admit it or not. And because our educational system is ailing, society is critically ill. 

The question now is: who is going to cure whom and how? One patient cannot heal another patient. How could a corrupt state transform a corrupt educational system? The puzzle is like the chicken and the egg. A sick chicken (state) cannot bear a healthy egg (educational system), and vice versa…
Any enlightened and wise individuals that might exist have been unfairly pushed into obscurity, as their words, sharp as a sword, are threatening to the corrupt political, economic and religious establishment of their country.

Instinctively, however, governments know that an effective educational system is a prerequisite for a just, orderly and affluent society, and occasionally make some feeble attempts towards its reformation and restructuring through new legislation and by diverting more money into the budget of the Ministry of Education. But alas, it is all in vain! Neither laws nor money can save the great patient…
Since the agents they use to effect any change are also confused and corrupt, while their concept of the substance and the mission of true education is erroneous, their attempts are utterly ineffective; they aim at the wrong direction. The political and economic leadership of each country consider education simply as the tool serving to enhance the production, development and management of material wealth. Without underestimating the importance of the production of wealth through scientifically and technologically well-trained individuals, I dare say that even the best scientists, economists and technocrats won’t function effectively and harmlessly unless they have been truly educated.

Professional training is not exactly the same as true education. A country may be able to produce wealth, but without true education of its leadership and its citizens the productivity profits will be distributed unjustly and spent unwisely, to the detriment of everybody concerned. Besides, man cannot be satisfied by bread alone, as the Scripture says, and we all know it is true.

What, then, is true ‘education’? The Latin word for ‘education’ is ‘educatio’, which comes from the verb ‘educo’ meaning ‘to bring out’, ‘to pull out’, ‘to draw out’, ‘to extract’.
In other words, effective education is not something implemented from without but rather something extracted from within. Education, then, should primarily aim at helping and guiding the individual to extract from one’s inner being and bring to fruition the inherent goodness, talents and powers.

True education should first and foremost help the citizens to form a wholesome character. It is only then that any additional professional training will serve the welfare of the individual, society and the nation. Unfortunately we already reap the bitter fruit of an uneducated educational system.
Brilliant scientists prostitute their skills by inventing weapons of mass destruction; industrialists sacrifice the environment and the quality of people’s life for the sake of material profit; insensitive politicians govern unwisely, serving mainly the Plutocracy’s and their own personal interests. Thus the rich become forever richer and the poor end up poorer, as we bitterly witness daily, while crime increases at an unprecedented rate and viciousness, plunging everybody in fear. What is wrong with our culture? I suggest that the root of all social, national and international evils is in the lack of true education.

Needles to say that in this time and age a travesty of education is universally mediated by commercial TV. It is TV that exerts the most powerful influence on individuals of every age and culture, by skillfully creating the appropriate emotions that serve an insatiable consumerism, and by promoting self-destructive ideas and attitudes in order to influence people to engage in an aggressive pursue of money and sex, as the ultimate goods one could enjoy in this life. Commercial TV, openly serving the interests of industrialists and the ruling class, “educate” people into aggressive competitiveness instead of cooperation, individualism instead of solidarity, and the gratification of the senses instead of healthy spiritual fulfillment.

This explains perfectly the pitiful modern type of ‘homo-consumer’, a species that indiscriminately consumes all that is promoted by commercial TV, thus being consumed by the inhumane system of present day uneducated culture. Consuming and being consumed is the trend of our modern culture. Hence the need of all sorts of narcotics…

People exist in order to consume, and consume in order to simply exist. Since the industries produce things for profit, somebody has to buy them, somebody has to be brainwashed into consuming them! And if those “goods” happened to be arms or weapons of mass destruction, still some nations should have to buy them. The circumstances of real or imaginative danger from possible attacks of neighboring countries should be created, so that the monstrous arms’ industries may push their “goods” to poorer countries! Thus, a great part of the wealth of the nations, instead of being spent for the welfare of the citizens, it is wasted in weapons…

How, then, could humanity escape from its self-destructive patterns of aggressive competitiveness, indiscriminate consumerism, and insatiable, hence enslaving, gratification of one’s senses? The answer is, “with proper education” – a painstaking process with no quick results by any means… But it is the only way. Let us now have some philosophers speak to us about true EDUCATION and its benefits:

“Just as the soil, however fertile it might be, can produce nothing without cultivation, so it is with the mind, which without proper EDUCATION cannot produce good fruit.” Plutarch

“The EDUCATION of the mind is just as necessary as the food for the body.” Cicero

“The fortunes of the nations depend on the EDUCATION of the young people.” Aristotle

“A State that has not EDUCATION as its basis is like a tower built on sand.” Adamantios Korais

“Man is born barbarous, and he is ransomed from the condition of beasts only by being educated.” Lamartine

“EDUCATION is the cultivation of a virtuous character from childhood, in order to make the citizen to desire becoming perfect and learning how to rule and be ruled with justice.” Plato

“Truly educated is not the person who has accumulated much knowledge about things but rather the one who has freed oneself of passions.” Pythagoras

“The bases of virtue are inherent in human nature; but its cultivation is the work of EDUCATION. Human nature without EDUCATION is blind.” Plutarch
“EDUCATION and ethics are almost the only things that create the good man. Those two also make the good politician and the good king.” Aristotle

“As long as you live, strive to obtain EDUCATION; do not think that old age on its own will bring logic with it.” Solon

“If a human has received the right EDUCATION, the same becomes a very gentle and divine animal. But if a human is not cultivated adequately or appropriately, then the same becomes the most wild among all creatures of nature.” Plato

“Man adorned with EDUCATION is the most beautiful of all living beings.” Socrates

“Every human nature improves by receiving a suitable EDUCATION.” Demosthenes

“EDUCATION perfects instincts as well as logic.” Bonnet

“EDUCATION is power that heals the soul.” Plato

“EDUCATION, virtue and knowledge, although unknown to the many, are the sweetest thing in man’s life.” Socrates

“The source and the root of benevolence is the good EDUCATION.” Plutarch

“An upbringing with good EDUCATION much conduces to virtue.” Euripides

“EDUCATION tames everyone and is the support of life.” Menander

“Among all things available to us only EDUCATION is eternal and divine.” Plutarch

“Those who neglect their EDUCATION forget that this results in wrong thinking.” Isocrates

“Human nature is like the land, the teacher like the farmer, while advices and ethical precepts are like the seed.” Plutarch

The world desperately needs radical political reformers and enlightened educators who possess healthy ‘seeds” and know how to skillfully sow them into the hearts of individuals, young and old. 
In parallel, commercial TV should stop aggressively promoting consumerism, hedonism and violence, and be transformed into the most powerful educational tool by advocating wholesome ideas and principles that ultimately guide people into harmonious living – a living in which spirit, soul and body function as they have been designed to.
Does it sound a far-fetched dream? It is! But it is the only possible way to reverse humanity’s self-destructive pattern, if it is not too late for this already….

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