Education gives knowledge which as Bacon rightly puts, is a “source of power to man”. However, it is crucial we note that this power can function either as one employed to build a better future or as one that destroys.
Our masters, the likes of Galileo, after much philosophizing and experimentation, discovered truths and initiated beneficial principles now observed in our educational system. Their great philosophies are perfect for numerous situations, but our system does not show scholars the path to think and understand the proper situations to apply them. This is chiefly because the concentration of teachings nowadays is not to make people think, which ought to be the primary goal, but chiefly to uphold existing laws, reasoning in the confinement of principles, and empowering indirectly an unsustainable world.
Acquiring Knowledge of established principles is good. But our educational system is leaving out an essential goal of growing our thinking faculty, by not grounding scholars with the understanding that the established principles are simply discoveries employed to help and should not be taken as final. Such limits our sense of discovery needed to address the diverse problems growing in our world.
Time or situation can transform valid principles to invalid; the superseded scientific laws or theories we had and will still have are examples. “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” (Ralph Waldo). A good quote it is; however, students are not grounded to understand its context and scope: Sadly, one can now see a sadist employing similar quote to justify actions, causing mayhem.
At a tender age, it was like a law according to my parents and remarks from people that rain starts and ends in certain months. I remember asking: “What if it rains in January?” their answer was: “It cannot”. The reply came with some air of finality because the principle had been valid historically and probably because they had never experienced otherwise. The principle was true. To them it was irrevocable. But time has invalidated that principle through climate change. Now the months they had known to bring heavy downpours sometimes turn to be the driest.
Life gets more complex every day, luckily we have principles intended to help, not to mold or limit our future. Sadly, our recognized principles cannot fit in every situation, and sticking on them will only bring about chaos. For a sustainable world, we need a kind of education where principles are acknowledged as a stimulus and not a decree. We need Education where people have enough grounds to express themselves beyond established principles, laws or philosophies; one that develops our reasoning and thinking faculty without constraints.
Pitiably, the knowledge we now gain from education does not train one in the part of wisdom which grows when one begins to think. It only exposes some people’s wise thoughts or principles. Our system of education now yields educated fanatics: people that have acquired better knowledge on how to present and manage their fanaticism, planting chaos by training advanced erroneous people.
Due to life’s growing complexities, education that develops our discerning ability to avoid further knowledge misappropriation is needed. Adoption of fine principles helps, but we should avoid settling in a period where scholars are chiefly concerned with following of principles, so we can elude a future of people that reason more with citations than their heads, like robots.
For a peaceful and sustainable future, we should stop the degrading practice of following principles thoughtlessly in our educational system, and welcome fresh educational scheme that stimulates our thinking faculty. That will enable all to understand the fact that time or situation can change anything. So, one would not be quick to conclude because of knowledge from recognized scholars or universal principles.
I believe in the future of education where people do not just copy principles or laws, but where people also philosophize on situations to know where the principles are usable. This will free our world from the problematic chains of principles. Some of our masters foresaw this ugly future of ‘scholaroids’; Socrates addressed it: “I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.”