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Real Education vs Educational Fundamentalism

About Abhijit Naskar

Abhijit Naskar is one of the world's celebrated Neuroscientists, an International Bestselling Author of numerous books and a popular advocate of mental wellness and global harmony. He has revealed to the world with his contributions in Science how the basic awareness of the brain can completely redefine our perception of life and make our daily life much more cheerful. He takes us on a fascinating investigative journey of understanding the human mind and its vivid features. He was born in Calcutta, India. His rejuvenating scientific philosophy of the mind has been lavishing human life with the colors and sweetness of self-awareness, since its advent with his very first book "The Art of Neuroscience in Everything".

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What is Education? Can you think of an accurate answer to this question? Does the modern civilized society have any idea on the true meaning of the term? Has the society ever been able to understand the true psychological underpinnings of education? Or has it only constructed a sophisticated and hectic structure and stuck the label “education” on it just to gain authentication?

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Education means nourishing the mind and make it develop in order to see beyond the limitations of current social perception. It means breaking the barriers of the rugged sociological system that impede in the progress of human civilization. It means trying new things out for the first time in human history and succeeding in a few while failing in some. That’s how a species grows and becomes more and more advanced.

Yet, somehow the craving for security has conditioned the society to perceive education not as an endeavor of the mind, rather as a preprogrammed task created by some sophisticated, illusory structure known as the “system of education”. Education means breaking free from the manacles of limitations put forward by primitive ignorance. Yet today’s fake education is gloriously founded upon the primordial element of “limitation”. And the authorities of this so-called education often take pride it in their ship shape structure where they manufacture dumb manikins.

As I have said in my book “The Education Decree”

“Psychologically speaking, a system is indeed necessary, for any kind of human endeavor. However, the moment the mind becomes dependent on the system and starts trusting the system more than internal faculties of the mind, the very element of education fades away from the system. And that’s exactly what has become of the modern system of education. There is a system alright, but the actual element of education has long gone.
A carefully constructed structure of education is supposed to smoothen the pursuit of knowledge, instead of restricting the flow of knowledge. The ultimate goal of humanity is knowledge, yet modern society has made knowledge secondary and the pompous pride of the system primary. The flow of knowledge towards the mind should be moderated by the faculties of the mind itself, based on the acceptability of nothing but the mind.
Mind is the Alpha – Mind is the Omega. There is nothing else in the pursuit of knowledge. And more importantly, there is nothing else in education. All systems of the society are meant to serve the mind, not the mind to serve the systems.”

Today’s system of education in most countries is based on rigorous indoctrination. This is what I call “Educational Fundamentalism”, which is quite similar to religious fundamentalism. The only difference between these two types of fundamentalism is that the later torments the entire human society, while the former tyrannizes the flourishing and vulnerable minds of the young society. Quite like religious fundamentalism, educational fundamentalism is based upon bookish creeds created by the self-proclaimed authority figures of the system. And this very fundamentalism is the cause of all the growing conflicts between the student-body of the education society and the teachers running that society. And these conflicts further become tools of exploitation in the hands of a handful of war-mongering, authoritarian, blood- sucking, politicians.

In short, today’s modern human society, perceives educational fundamentalism as true education, while the reality is, it is totally opposite of education. Real education opens up the mind to the vast world of possibilities and potentials. It enables the mind to come up with its own unique answers to questions that have been never answered before. Real education creates a complex mesh of neural network in the brain, solely concerned with delicate processing of knowledge, that allows the being known as human, to see something that nobody else can.

A properly constructed system can aid in this process of the growth of mind and smoothen the course of learning. However, the reality is something quite pathetic and of utter concern for us scientists and other thinkers in the field of philosophy. We are concerned because, the modern pedagogy of the system in most countries does not allow the flourishing minds of the young generation to grow at its natural pace, rather it overloads their brain with preprogrammed stream of life-less information and expects them to regurgitate that information in an exact order. Those who succeed in standing up to that ruthless expectation earns the ticket to the next level of the system and eventually they emerge as heartless robots. And those who don’t are quite cold- bloodedly labeled as “failed” and are expected to go through the whole process of regurgitation year after year, until they either succeed or meet their doom.

This is not Education. It is a process of manufacturing computation devices that look like Homo sapiens, and thereby falsely and quite mistakenly labeled as “Education”. This “False Education” or “Educational Fundamentalism” is dangerous for the society, and moreover it is a threat to the entire species, because it takes away the basic cognitive capacities of the mind, which are quintessential for the advancement of the species.

The need of a safe and stable structure is ingrained in the mind as a primitive psychological characteristic. It is a basic instinctual necessity of the cavemen with us. Hence, it is quite easy for the society to fall prey to this innate instinctual need. And slowly it outweighs the urge for growth. It is plain biological evolution. As my dearly beloved Lizi often says to me in order to win an argument, “when Evolution speaks, even the Gods are silent”. And it is indeed accurate. Evolution drives all kinds of lifeforms as well as mindforms. And it is Mother Nature that drives the whole process of biological evolution. Here I’d take a step further and say, when Mother Nature speaks, even the Gods hold silence.

Instincts, drives and urges, all are evolutionary, and as such they serve their distinct purposes in the path of survival. However, these antique elements of the primitive human psyche are kept in check by the modern part of the brain, i.e. the cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex of the brain is responsible for the modern rational thinking of the human mind, while the limbic system holds all the emotional elements of the mind, including the primordial ones.

Now the point is, primordial instinctual elements come more naturally to the human mind, than rational thinking. This is because all the basic instincts and drives of the mind have been there since the reptilian days, whereas rational and analytical thinking has evolved in the human brain far too recently. Naturally, it takes a lot of practice and efforts to become a rational free thinker, compared to the ignorant minds incessantly driven by the lizard within.

And that’s exactly what has become of this so- called civilized and modern human society and its system of education. Most of the human society as well as its system of education is driven by the lizards of the limbic brain. Hence, it’s not the fault of the system. Rather if anyone to blame it is Mother Nature. She is a wicked old lady, who always has it her way.

However, if you have sufficient insight into the whole process of evolution and can take into account all its correlated ups and downs, you will no longer be able to blame Mother Nature. Because, even though we have been living in the wilderness and surviving with our limbic instincts and drives for millions of years, we also have received from Mother Nature the gift of a complicated and advanced cerebral cortex, which enables us to carefully modulate the wild responses of the limbic system in this civilized world. We truly are an advanced species that has gained the brain capacity look beyond the basic needs of survival. We have learnt to take significant steps in the path of development.
And the most necessary tool in that path of advancement is Education. And here, by education, I refer to the real education of the mind, that endows the human psyche with vigor and expands its intellectual perception of the world. And in this whole process of progress, there is no place for the fake education of modern society that does nothing but condition the young human minds to become hypnotized hominid elitists.

To quote from my memoir Love, God & Neurons “indoctrination is not just demeaning to the human conscience, it is lethal for the flourishing psychology of the hungry, young mind. The purpose of education should ultimately be the advancement of the species. And for this to actually happen, the world needs the kind of education by means of which character is formed, strength of the mind is increased and the human intellect is expanded beyond its own limits.”
First the world needs teachers – teachers who have broken their own shackles of indoctrination – teachers who can go beyond the narrow- mindedness of the society. A handful of these young, brave and zealous teachers in every nation, shall be enough to rekindle the spark of pure knowledge in the entire species.

 

(This Article was originally published on Goodreads)

Further Reading
Abhijit Naskar, 2016, What is Mind?
Abhijit Naskar, 2016, Love, God & Neurons: Memoir of a scientist who found himself by getting lost
Abhijit Naskar, 2017, The Education Decree


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