Sat | Jun 3, 2023

The end of education is character

Published:Sunday | January 23, 2022 | 12:12 AM

EDUCATION MUST result in purifying one’s perceptions. It must develop and coordinate moral and spiritual urges and ensure good character. While discriminating between ‘good’ and ‘bad’, the educated person must apply the criterion of service to humanity.

Along with worldly knowledge and experimental knowledge, man must also acquire experiential knowledge. Knowledge gathered from books is but second hand. But for persons involved in the problems of living, first-hand knowledge alone is helpful, and this must come from the urge for love and light. Unfortunately, education today has as its aim the earning of wealth, attaining a comfortable life of leisure and pleasure.

Education can be both material-oriented and spiritual-oriented. It can have as its aim the achievement of a high level of living for oneself, one’s family, and one’s relatives. But living involves more than flesh and bone, food, and shelter, more than even sensual satisfactions. Man has certain intangible equipment like the mind, the intellect, and the consciousness in various levels. These must be clarified, cleansed, strengthened, and directed along beneficial lines. This is done by spirit-oriented training. Now, material education has grown too high. Spiritual education has lagged and even disappeared. So there is no integration in the personality of the educated person. He lacks conviction and completeness of understanding.

Too mechanical

Doubts and distractions are bothering him all the while. The process of education has become too mechanical. It is not vitalised by the consciousness of ideals or elevated by a high purpose. Ask any student. He replies that he is pursuing education for the sake of earning a living. But what of the very goal of human life? To understand it and struggle to reach it is even more important.

Man earns riches. Riches attract relatives, who attach themselves to the person until the riches get dried up. Respect is offered to the rich by kinsmen and by the world so long as they are in possession of wealth. But respect should be offered to the aged, especially those who have gathered wisdom through time. A highly spiritual person must be revered, irrespective of his age. The wise should be respected, regardless of any other consideration.

Karma (activity) must be revered even more than the wisdom of elders. Activities that develop humanity in man, that raise the level of one’s character, that have loving service to others as the motive, that uplift the society in which one lives – these must be adored and adhered to.

Higher than these is illuminative knowledge, which makes man aware of the truth of the outer and inner worlds, which fulfils the very destiny of man. Without self-knowledge, scholarship is a beautiful flower with a stinking odour, a charming fruit with worms inside it.

Compiled by Sai Institute of Education West Indies, St Michael, Barbados.Email: www.siewi.orgWebsite: