PHILOSOPHICALLY speaking – WHAT IS EDUCATION?
“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all” — Aristotle (384BC – 322BC). Schools, as a place for formal learning began by about 3100 BC, with the Scribes and Priests (http://history-world.org/history_of_education.htm).
Fast forward to 2015 A.D. Post Graduate Degrees, Graduate Degrees, and Masters of Business Administration (MBA) Degrees have become fundamental requirements for individuals in a wide range of occupations in education, leadership, government and management. These degrees have mushroomed throughout universities, private institutions and corporations with expenditures in billions of dollars.
The world’s expenditure in education in 2014 was $1,776 trillion dollars (Reference: Stockholm International Peace Institute (SIPI)). Yearly the United States spends $810 billion, Japan $160 billion, Germany $130 billion, United Kingdom $123 billion, France $121 billion, and Canada (smaller population) $65 billion. The Province of Ontario, Canada spends $25 billion dollars. (UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics).
The Prison Industrial Complex in the United States costs $63.4 billion dollars per year, and the capital cost to maintain a person in prison is $50,000.00 – $60,000.00 per year. Likewise, the cost of the Canadian Prison Industrial Complex is $2.7 billion dollars per year, and the cost to maintain a person in prison in Canada is $117,788.00 per year (www.globalissues.org).
The world’s expenditure to sustain its Military Industrial Complex amounted to $1,756 trillion in 2012. Expenditures in North America $691.22 Billion, Europe $418.6 billion, Asia and Oceana $381.5 billion, Middle East $127.7 billion, Central America, South America and the Caribbean $76.4 Billion, and Africa $38.2 Billion (www.globalissues.org).
“According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the number of refugees and internally displaced people has reached its highest point since World War II at 60 million displaced people. The annual cost of this displacement, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, has now reached almost $100 billion.
One would imagine that the educated elites of our world would comprehend that the fragile world economy is incapable of sustaining these “deficit driven” expenditures. The educated observer could conclude that these expenditures should be used to address early childhood education, mental illness, emerging infectious diseases or the fifteen global challenges facing humanity depicted in The Millennium Project Global Futures Studies & Research of (2012), (http://www.millennium-project.org/millennium/challenges.html),
WHAT IS EDUCATION?
What is education? How do you explain what is education to your children? How do individuals and nations measure the benefits of billions of dollars of investments in education? Can education heal nations and the world? What ought to be the goals of education? The answers are more fundamental than the questions.
Education ought to be a ‘human value’ proposition of the first order, with the inherent capacity to lift humanity to great heights of enlightened behavior. Education ought to incorporate the intangibles such as knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, and the power to apply fairness, reason, realism, integrity, prudence, and discernment to solve fundamental human problems. The reality of our modern era is that we have arrived at crossroads of undeniable material progress on the one hand, and a decline in spiritual, moral, social, intellectual and physical progress on the other hand.
Observe the distrust with the political elites, the cyclic collapse of the world economies, and the moral failure of ‘educated’ elites in academia, high finance, politics and religion. Observe the decline in the display of international peace and harmony, the hoarding of strategic resources, corporate greed, the accumulation of superfluous wealth, global terrorism, and the advent of World War III.
Observe the human condition through the prisms of unjust laws, wars, and refugees of war. Observe the rise in the use of legal and illegal drugs, in anxiety, in stress, in depression, in loneliness, and worse of all suicide and criminal behavior among children, juveniles and adults. These human conditions confirm a universal decline in the capacity of modern education to lift human beings to new heights of humanity, and to build and sustain great civilizations.
There is a need for an evaluation of the focus of education that calls for a new and all-encompassing education model. This evaluation must look deeply into the human condition that inspires human trafficking, racism, sexism, terrorism, genocide, wars, and fear and anxiety that overwhelms individuals and nations, despite billions of dollars educating the masses.
This evaluation must help to develop the human capacity to mitigate lifestyle challenges such as the use of illegal drug, smoking and reckless driving. It must help human beings to rise above social injustice, due to race, colour, culture, class or religion.
This evaluation must shield us from the dangers of discontent with our race, our colour, our hair, our looks, our bodies, and our suffering. It must address the human compulsion toward hatred, jealousy, inadequacy, and greed that fuels our material lifestyles of wants over needs.
This evaluation must inspire hope through a belief in “Spiritual Intelligence” to underpin, and enable “Human Intelligence”, to further enable “Artificial Intelligence”, and imbue spiritual progress, which is an international display of the “fruit of the Spirit” such as love, joy, peace, patience (longsuffering), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self–control (Galatians 5:22–23 (NKJV)).
This new all-encompassing educational model is a “WHOLESOME EDUCATION”. It alone can liberate us completely —spiritually, morally, socially, intellectually and physically. These five foundational perspectives must, of necessity have measurable outcomes that are similar to academic information literacy and numeracy. Only a ‘wholesome education’ curriculum can engender peaceful co-existence, underpinned by spiritual progress, which is the apex of progress of nations. Let us define the five foundations of a ‘wholesome education.’
—1. SPIRITUAL (RELIGIOUS) EDUCATION
Spiritual (Religious) education informs about purpose, and the moral codes that underpin the oneness of humanity, religious unity, and enhance understanding in a world polarized by racial, cultural, and religious indifference. It establishes the foundation for religious unity, which is essential for roles as leaders in multi-faith societies.
Religious education informs students of the origins of religions, various belief systems, their cultural heritage, and spiritual well-being. Religious education should not be an opportunity to teach doctrine, but to teach universal principles of human goodness. Unlike the exclusivity of religious institutions, public schools, colleges, and universities are the most integrated environments at the most critical stage of human development.
—2. MORAL EDUCATION
Moral education informs students about the basis upon which to exercise moral leadership, power and authority, and to make prudent judgment in critical situations. It helps the student to develop moral capacity, to make decisions that demonstrate moral courage and moral persuasion.
It helps the student to understand how to manage the intersection between moral and civic duty. It provides them with opportunities to examine different styles of leadership and authority, past and present, and the impact of decisions made within those styles on respective nations, and the world.
—3. SOCIAL EDUCATION (15 TYPES OF RELATIONSHIPS)
Did your education prepare you for 15 different types of relationships such as Spiritual, Marital, Parental, Sibling, Romantic, Platonic, Business, Associate, Casual, Subordinate, Territorial, Sovereign, International, Constitutional, and Judicial? Social education informs students about the capacity to develop social relationships within families, with other races, cultures, religions, and with other nationalities. Social education helps students to see all human being as equal and deserving of love and social justice.
Social education is the chief ingredient needed to understand the many forms of relationships at different stages throughout the student’s lifetime to adulthood. The advent of the global village informs the need for higher forms of social interaction for global inclusiveness, and global peace and harmony.
—4. INTELLECTUAL EDUCATION (THREE LEVELS OF INTELLEGENCE)
Are you aware that there are three levels of intelligence (Spiritual, Human and Artificial)? It informs of the necessity for each level of intelligence to be in concord. Intellectual education provides students with the capacity to develop their mental faculties to take on intellectual and academic pursuits. It helps students to understand different concepts of intelligence and education, and their value to human development.
It increases their understanding of human limitations and capabilities. It helps students to understand the role of intellectual leadership in the world that forms the basis for intelligent decision-making, as they examine failed and successful leadership styles.
—5. PHYSICAL EDUCATION
Physical Education informs students an understanding of the sanctity of the human body and an awareness of human physical and mental vulnerabilities. It helps students to develop their physical abilities and their self–esteem, while cultivating a greater awareness of his or her higher spiritual being and existence. It informs of the necessity for Spiritual leadership as a pre-requisite for global leadership.
Physical Education helps students to understand the critical importance of the health of our physical bodies in relation to the health of the physical environment (direct correlation). Physical education helps to inform of the fundamental difference between botanical and pharmacological perspectives of human health.
BENEFITS OF A WHOLESOME EDUCATION
In conclusion, I have traveled to many places in the world, and I have observed the phenomenon of life from educational, intellectual, and empirical perspectives, and to some extent academic perspectives, by researching patterns and trends. I contend that when we evaluate the criteria for human survival as a viable species, the trends are pointing in a negative direction.
Nevertheless, I am hopeful that we can begin now to reverse these negative trends by revolutionizing our education system. Only by a “Wholesome Education” curriculum discussed briefly in this paper, we can achieve the benefits stated, and foster a better world for present and future generations.
We must understand that regardless of race, culture, colour, social or economic status, or religion no group can claim a monopoly or rights to the planet and its resources. We share common needs, destiny and purpose. This knowledge ought to be at the foundation of modern education in order for humanity to survive as a viable species.
If we do not learn to share the planet and its resources, we will consign humanity to repeat history, at a greater cost than we have in the past. Current educational models have not awakened us to this reality. Only a “Wholesome Education” can awaken and unify us and help ensure our survival as a viable species.
By: Errol Gibbs (01/09/2015)
Errol A. Gibbs, Writer, Speaker, Self-Inspired Researcher
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