Our society is slowly degrading and human interactions leave much to be desired: we do not respect each other, we abuse each other, we encourage frustration and hysteria to a wild extent, we are self-centred, we obviously ignore good manners, we allow purposes to justify the means without regrets. We don’t like ourselves, we don’t like what we see in others and we shamelessly watch how, generation after generation, the mud becomes more and more attractive. What’s to be done?
“People without culture are easy to handle”, Kant said. People with no education are not truly free, because freedom means development of creativity and of human genius in any field of activity, from the entrepreneurial to the artistic one.
There are two metaphors that highlight the importance of education. The first refers to man as a cell of society. If you want to have a well-connected society, you need to have people of integrity. If the cells within a body are left to chance, you will deal with a chaotic situation. It is the organizational structure, which gives coherence and utility to the ensemble. Secondly, the education of the individual can be compared to the quality of the bricks of a building. If you want to have a secure structure, use superior materials. No matter how ingenious your engineers might be or how creative the architect is, if the foundation material is of poor quality, the result is compromised. In general, we agree to this, but too often we stop before reaching the conclusion.
If each of us makes efforts to become of higher “quality”, society will have an increased degree of civilization and we could find our purpose more easily. Education is a win-win on two levels: on the individual one, as well as the social one. Education is the process of intellectual foundation-laying and moral edification.
An anecdote about Romanian philosopher Constantin Noica described him on a visit to a high school to speak to the young students about the importance of learning. The philosopher showed two options: either we enroll ourselves on the orbit of education and become subjects, choosing our own role within society, or we stay objects of the manipulation of others. In other words, you either take your life in your own hands through education, create your own way and refuse to satisfy yourself with the role given by society, or you become an person that others can use.
To have an education means to have a purpose in mind, to go towards a clear direction, to live your life fully, using all the potential you were born with. God gave you talents, extraordinary skills, intellectual capacity, but you are responsible for what you do with them. Basic education implies following a traditional academic pattern, but it’s not limited to that.
Education does not mean just the accumulation of knowledge, but also its transformation, the formation of skills, of character. Education is a process of becoming better. Johann Amos Comenius said: “Man can only become man by education”.
Ellen White writes on this topic: “There is need of a broader scope, a higher aim. True education means more than the pursual of a certain course of study. It means more than a preparation for the life that now is. It has to do with the whole being, and with the whole period of existence possible to man. It is the harmonious development of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual powers”.