Friday, 25 July 2014

Education Is Not The Cure


Education is deemed to be the cure for all of society's ills. It will overcome poverty, eradicate hatred, confound corruption and liberate the oppressed. That's what people will tell you. Education is the solution. They're wrong.

We are the most educated generation of our species. We have near infinite information at our fingertips. Yet poverty is still rife. We talk about the things we can do and then what? We stage amusing or entertaining events to lovingly coerce money out of our pockets to help the downtrodden and afflicted. Yes, we are so enraged with the human tragedy but to lighten our bank accounts requires a bit of a show.

If that doesn't work, we crucify six hundred or so people in Parliament for not solving the problem. Because we, the people, a body of sixty million souls, couldn't have the collective endeavour to solve these issues ourselves. We have more University graduates than ever before. This is the educated generation, supposedly, that can't grasp that a Government cannot spend more and tax less. They use rhetoric designed to incite emotive responses rather than encourage informed debate. 

That then accelerates other issues. Better education is not creating a more unified society. It is as polarised as it ever was, hidden beneath a veneer of oppressive mob mentality, where people agree or are metaphorically annihilated. Education merely gave the emotive a more eloquent tongue. Rationality is a prisoner to rash rhetoric that achieves more rapid but less effective results.

Corruption was not and never will be cut down by education. It will become more clandestine, rooting itself more deeply before it can be exposed. Once the weed of greed has wrapped itself around the stem of society's soul, it doesn't matter how well we are educated. We will have paid the price and will feel the pain of a robbed season.

Education does not free the oppressed. Sharing videos of Joseph Kony didn't bring him down. News reports of Mugabe failed to bring him to his knees. The people above and below him refuse to give the one thing that would solve all these problems. It's not education. It's sacrifice.

Only a willingness to sacrifice everything we have, collectively, will solve the world's issues. We would give every penny we could to see no child go hungry again. We'd give up holidays, TVs, meals out and other luxuries to cure the ills of the world. Profit would be dedicated to investment to find the next important innovation, not to fill people's pockets. However, education is now geared to boosting your earning capacity rather than making a genuine contribution to a better world. Everyone has had a teacher that has used the stick of shame to get you to work hard at school. "You had best work hard or you'll end up at McDonald's" was the one I got. Never mind the sickening sanctimony of the statement, like someone who works in a fast food place is a lesser human being or can't contribute something important to the world; it instantly gears children to measure their success by the opulence they can enjoy. Money and comfort are the scoreboards of success, rather than advances and innovations that would make the world a better place.

Education is not the cure because it has become a slave to the worst parts of the human psyche. Greed, shame, judgement and division. It just got more shiny and slick in how it does it. If it wants to be the vehicle for change, it would teach the value of sacrifice. To give something good today for something greater tomorrow. To work for something better than something selfish. Imagine a world where every single person is willing to sacrifice for the greater good. That is not educated into a person. It is within us all. The only thing we need to do is to let it out. As Master Yoda put, we must unlearn what we have learned.