Education, I believe in you! In all your forms. Academia points out that the previous sentence lacked a predicate and its entourage of syntax buddies, and also that academia can’t point. Good point. But prose. Prose allows all, all grammar crimes and self-taught artistic unconventionalities. Education ≠ school. Education happens – wittingly or unwittingly, willingly or unwillingly – all around us, in all of us, all the time, lifelong. Our teachers don’t always look like teachers: they can be social milieus, inner monologues, nature, culture, travel, or anything that makes the brain spin. It’s always good to know what the scholars have to say, but many of the most valuable life lessons are taught by experience, one-on-one and hands on, oftentimes in a wrestling match involving some degree of pain.
Education, you empower us! To take agency, think critically, ask questions, and to have and make choices. You are the key driver in our intellectual development and, more importantly, character evolution. Academia traditionally feeds the intellect, while social ties enmesh our character. Both have their raison d'être and their own tools: school is institutionalized and measurable, while other forms of education are highly individual and hard to track.
Education, keep up! The school system seems a little outdated. I’m a big fan of the alphabet and simple math, but why don’t ethics and character-building occupy more space in classrooms filled with overly theoretic dust collectors? Why don’t we get ahead of dangerous misconceptions, ideologies, and doctrines by discussing them out in the open at an early age? Not every home can provide a sound moral department the way a school can. It’s the ideal forum to lay the groundwork for a mentality of critical thinking and openness.
Education, nurture us and make it healthy! None of us are born racists, or homophobes, or bigots. We are talking nurture here, not nature. No blue animal discriminates against green animals because of their skin color. It is within the vacuum left by a lack of education that a person is susceptible to the campaigning of those who try to divide the indivisible, and it is the wrong education packaged in dangerous doctrines that infests a compassionate heart with hatred. Education should never narrow the mind, but always widen it.
Education, you know what’s right! “But who’s to say who’s to say what’s right,” you say. It’s not who, it’s what: common sense. If someone is against gay marriage, they are simply ill-informed: they demonize what’s natural, act out of fear of what they don’t fully comprehend, and make somebody else’s private space their decision-making place. If someone is against women’s rights, they are wrong. Not right or wrong; just wrong. There are many sides to many stories and the human experience is as subjective as experience gets. But some matters are just black or white, right or wrong, good or bad. We need teachers like Rawls, inside and outside the classrooms, that promote plain, natural logic to inform morality. Rawls original position (OP) might not be practical, but it is nothing if not logical – let people choose the principles that govern their societies as though they didn’t know which role they’d be born into. You don’t choose a world of discrimination if you don’t know what side you’ll end up on. Suddenly, tolerance and open-mindedness are just a logical consequence, not a lesson or a struggle.
Education, you are a freedom fighter! You are the strongest weapon to combat the atrocities of ignorance – discrimination, oppression, division, war. That’s why it is so important that those who take education in their hands, use its power responsibly.
Education, dig deep! Uncover the contradictions of all religions and the wrongdoings of their abusive institutions, and bring to light the peaceful teachings that unify them all: love and benevolence.
Education, never be a privilege! Be a human right, always!
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