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A Short Essay

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(this article was written for an essay-writing class, which may explain the overall style)

Sometimes, and regrettably rather often, I hear remarks intended to make us believe that the educational system at schools and universities wouldn't work, that it would be less bound to prepare students for practice but rather let them be caught in a web of theories, of dry stuff, of knowledge not suspected or assumed worthy to be taught.

I also hear remarks of students, constantly asking whether or not certain knowledge would be necessary for them to learn, whether or not it would make sense to do this or to do that, whether there was somehow a whatever distant possibility that one could skip some things not really necessary.

And then, there are questions about the truth, questions pushing the teacher into a position of assumed omniscience, or, if not the teacher, at least the teaching materials and literature used for a certain course. Constantly I hear people asking someone what really had happened or what the author of a book really meant by what he had written.

Cogito, ergo sum. But recently, I have found also the opposite quote: Non cogitant, ergo non sunt. They don't think, therefore they aren't. What would education be if it were not aimed at teaching us how to think? There is nothing more na´ve, and nothing more dangerous for the individual, as when it deliberately would surrender his or her own free will to a fellow being.

Education not only is a gift nor only hard work, it is most of all a responsibility of each one of us: It is also a matter of survival. Not out of coincidence education is a prime objective of any government: It is an utmost political concept. Education is power, education is our strongest argument. Therefore I do not understand the way it is sometimes treated.

January 10th, 1998

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