It can be said that the role of education in the 21st century has shifted dramatically since the birth of the technological revolution. No longer is education the benefit of the wealthy, or a benefit of the privileged few of a society, it is now a global enterprise that all individuals can access. Education transcends the boundaries of printed paper, and takes new form in the cybernetic pathways of the internet. The spread of resources has meant that more and more people have access to learning material; no longer is it necessary for a tutor or a teacher to present the individual with knowledge, knowledge has become the modern opium. Education has become the great emancipator.
Education, emancipates the mind from the shackles of ignorance and empowers the individual towards enlightenment. Education is not bound by structural institutions; education is not bound by the structure of authority. Education is the process that one uses to free them from authority, and free themselves from the need for an external arbiter of knowledge. Through the learning of critical thinking skills the individual is to achieve mental autonomy, which is the major purpose of education. In this respect education is more than just a process of memorisation – it is more than a process of mere robotic programming – it is the process by which humanity frees themselves from the shackles that ignorance brings.
Ignorance, though it may be the natural state of humanity, is a state in which humanity must deplore; for ignorance begets suffering. When one is ignorant of the world they are ignorant to the solutions to problems within the world. It is for these reasons that for a human to be separated from suffering they need to pursue mental autonomy, which is only achieved through the analysis of themselves in the cosmos. Through the learning of skills to better their condition within the cosmos, they are able to achieve enlightenment. Enlightenment not in the mystic sense, but in the intellectual sense: a state by which the individual is at the highest end an independent thinker. Thus, the ultimate goal of education is free-thought.
A free-thinker is not an individual entirely independent in mental faculty; rather a free-thinker is an individual who is independent from the need for authority and arbitrary knowledge. The free-thinker is not the independent spectator of the world; they are the analyst within existence who assesses the ideological structures around them. They are the modelers of reality, and the builders of the future. However, the only way they could become free-thinkers was through education.
It is for the aforementioned reasons that education is the greatest thing that humanity has ever created. It is for these reasons that one should wish to be able to bestow upon individuals knowledge, for its own sake. And it is for these reasons that one’s only duty should be to equip the future generations with a means to better them, and a means with which to reform prior generations’ mistakes.
Written by: Anthony Avice Du Buisson