Excellence in Education
“Excellence in Education: Future Minds and Giftedness” – that was the theme of a conference in which I participated in Paris from 1st to 6th June 2008. Almost everyone was concerned about how to produce a greater number of gifted and talented individuals. The emphasis was purely on the intellectual and academic aspects of education. For what purpose? To become more efficient in producing goods and services, to meet the challenges of a globalised world, to solve problems, to keep on innovating, improving, making new discoveries, and maybe to colonise other planets and destroy them in the same way we have nearly destroyed this beautiful planet!
Where else can excellence in education lead to? We are talking about future minds, but why not focus on present minds? Why don’t we think about how to solve present problems that are threatening to bring an end to human civilisation? Can’t we see that education has not solved any problem? What contribution can intellectual people bring to the world, apart from making us more robotic, mechanical, thus heartless and inhuman? Are people living in joy, peace and harmony? We may have achieved material progress, but we have failed to understand our inner being.
I am not against giftedness or excellence in education. We always need gifted individuals. But the problem is that we always had them and it is the same people who have contributed to make a hell of the world. In the conference, one participant named a child with whom she had worked. He was a young gifted boy – Peter was his name. Peter’s parents think that going to school is a waste of time, so they do not send him there but instead do his schooling at home. Peter’s only environment and relationships are his father, mother and grandparents; consequently, he has become anti-social. In fact, it has been observed that gifted persons are mostly cut off from the realities of the world and even become anti-social. Do we want such people to lead the world?
Any individual needs to balance his intellectual and spiritual development, otherwise his development is incomplete and that makes him an unfulfilled individual. Here, intellectual does not mean only the capacity for acquiring knowledge, but rather the ability to clearly think, reason, speak, express oneself, understand, question, doubt and criticise. If the present trend with the missing link in education continues, I am afraid we may not have any future. We should not only care for excellence in academic and intellectual fields, but also focus on the flowering of the heart and the expansion of consciousness – that is the missing link in education. Future minds must be individuals who know who they are and why they are here. Only that can help them to become sane and flourished.
In one of the issues of the magazine ‘Science et Avenir’, the scientists of the mind, if I may call them like this, say that our unconsciousness can be transformed. This is what mystics of all ages have always said and practised. The science of meditation consists of bringing more light into the unconscious layers of the mind. The former is then transformed into pure energy. The unconscious layer of our mind is vast and thick. It occupies more than 95.5% of our mind. Our lives are greatly influenced by it. Once it is transformed, we become a totally new person – we are reborn in mind.
Our habits, desires, character, conditionings and other life experiences are what constitute our unconscious layers. Once they are transformed, we become a sane individual experiencing inner peace, bliss, liveliness, freedom and unity with nature. We are no longer divided inside; we become a ‘wholesome’ individual. The mystic would say we become holy. There is nothing irrational about meditation; it is simply about increasing one’s awareness as it is only that which can dissipate or transform our unconsciousness.
Academic or intellectual education can’t do that. However much excellence we achieve in the field of academic education, we cannot become a sane individual – society bears testimony to what I am saying. Hence my proposal: instead of focusing too much on academic, intellectual and scientific progress, let us start working on our unconsciousness. We have already made great progress in the former fields. It is now high time to work on our character and only a thorough understanding of human nature can do that.
It is that understanding which I call the missing link in education. I have also called it self-education. How to do that? Let us start with meditation for the expansion of consciousness.
Any individual needs to balance his intellectual and spiritual development, otherwise his development is incomplete and that makes him an unfulfilled individual.