Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What is education? continued..

I ended my last post saying that the ultimate objective of life is to experience maximum happiness and thus, our definition of education, one of the most important aspects of life, must come out of happiness.

Therefore, for defining education, I first need to know what happiness is. What makes a person happy and what doesn’t? 


An excerpt from the United States declaration of Independence:
“...all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...” 

While the declaration talks about right to liberty; for happiness, it only says the right to pursuit of happiness, not right to happiness. Why is it so? Because I think, while you can be given liberty by others but you can’t be made happy by others. Happiness is a deeply intrinsic feeling, which, though generally influenced by outer factors, can be completely independent of these. While some people can make you laugh, happiness comes from undefined horizons.

While we spend our lives running for money and fame, many people experience true happiness only when they share their abundance with others, not when they compete; when they give up something so that the other may achieve something; when they continue to love someone even though the other shows hostility towards them; when they sacrifice their material achievements for building relationships; when they hold onto their values in extremely testing times; when they bow before The Almighty for all He has given them, not for asking more.

 If we keep our fears aside for a moment and reflect, aren’t these the things which will make us happy, truly proud of ourselves? Aren’t we defined by what we feel, rather than what we think? Don’t our values define ourselves, than all the intellectual stuff and the material accumulations?

Basically, we are happy when what we are doing is in resonance with our true self, our core values. Core values of all of humanity are same: love, compassion, trust, honesty, courage etc.  We feel inner joy and happiness when we think or act in a way, which allows us to experience these values.

Given that most of the humanity, if not all, has more or less forgotten these values (or rather find these values too dangerous to follow in this dog-eat-dog world), happiness levels have gone down. People become angry even at the slightest of provocations; grow jealous at the success of even their closest friends/relatives; continuously denounce/berate other people on such flimsy and trivial accounts like how one eats, how one dresses, accent, color of skin etc (believe me, a person with third class eating habits, no dressing sense, worst possible accent and darkest color of skin, can be one of the most wonderful person from heart).


Since we achieve happiness when we experience our true selves, our true values, the objective of education should be to take us closer to these values or in other words, closer to our essence, our real self. A dog-eat-dog model of the world should be replaced by a more loving and compassionate model. While the person should be made aware of the existing situation, he/she should also be made aware of a possibility of a better world and his or her role in achieving that possibility.

While one should be taught the existing subjects, one must also be taught about great people who exhibited positivity in the worst of circumstances. One must be given a perspective that all material accumulations and intellectual ideas will amount to naught, if he is not happy; if he doesn’t wake up in the morning thinking what a wonderful world he is living in, how wonderful people are, how wonderful nature is and how wonderful he is, who has the privilege to live in this world. If one is not able to achieve (or get closer) to this state of mind, what is the sense of all the accumulations. They’ll just be additional burden to carry.

Thus with these ideas, let me conclude here with a rough definition of education, as under:
“Education is a process, which gives us an opportunity to realize ourselves, our true potential so that each day we live in a better world than yesterday, where people are happy about themselves and everything around them. Various tools may be used to propagate such objectives of education, which may include subject knowledge, physical exercises, self-reflection etc.”