The meaning of the word education is to lead out. This presumably implies that through the acquisition of knowledge we might be led out of ignorance and come to a better understanding of the world. Through the process of enquiry we have learned many things, not least that all life stems from a common source and should, therefore, be granted equal respect. However, though we now know this, the idea has yet to be realised.
Our growing understanding of the evolutionary struggle of life on Earth makes us witness to a truly wondrous story. This story continues to evolve, as do we as part of it. This is surely sufficient motivation for us to wish to acquire for ourselves the abilities to understand this journey in a way that recognises, and is in harmony with, the wonder of the natural world. Unfortunately, the reality of our system of education, as presently enforced, is very different.
Devised and implemented by the state on behalf of business, the current purpose of our education is to prepare us for a life spent with our noses firmly pressed to the millstone that grinds the Earth into money. We can not continue on the path of the primacy of economic growth motivated by the promise of material riches. That vanity displays an appalling poverty of vision.
The state has no right to usurp our integrity in this way, other than the threat to use its power against us if we refuse to comply. We do not, however, have to send our children to the officially sanctioned schools, be they state or privately financed. We can choose home learning, possibly in cooperation with others. These arrangements may still be subject to state interference but the ethos, which makes the vital difference, would not be theirs to set.
It is, however, no more our job than it is that of the state to mould our children in our own image. Rather, we should help them to develop the necessary abilities and enthusiasm to wish to become as well informed as possible about the world. For only then is any of us in a position to make intelligent life choices, to come to our own conclusions as to the correct way in which to behave. To decide how we wish to evolve. And, make no mistake, we need to evolve to a more reasonable intelligence as rapidly as possible.
Not everyone will concur with the ethos outlined in this manifesto and they can not be made to. Solutions which are imposed rarely, if ever, work. The only hope for lasting and sustainable change is for it to be founded on personal choice and self determination. Fairness demands that we give our children the right to make up their own minds, and they will be in no position to do this if the state has conditioned them to conformity before they are old enough to know otherwise.
Childhood education by the state needs to be replaced by a lifelong process of personal discovery and development for, as things now stand, we cease to learn before we have learned to live.
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