Education is life

Today the World is becoming a superficial place. Our time appoints the absurd, making social networks as a real-world by a considerable part of the younger generations.

It is a virtual reality, more precise than high-definition video games, more addictive and harmful to the mind and the body.

This fake reality indeed kills the neurons converting people into zombies led by a leader of unknown appearance.

Ignorance acts as the lock, and manipulation working as the key entering every mind. Then, it hacks and promotes war even over the most absurd topic that any influencer shares in a post.

The social network profile becomes an epicentre of empty universes, universes that conflict with the real-life, where, as in the war, leads to the destruction of entire generations.

Using actualized tools, but the same indoctrination mechanisms used in the world wars. Again, the end justifies it, annulling individuals’ conscience and making them members of the social mass.

Even though each social profile is seemingly unique, there is no perspective on what life is in its essence. The network is a game that only favours some private interests.

We know the truth: countries born from interests, wars arise, passions move. Interests motivate greed. Greed sooner or later destroys life. Life, which, without a doubt, is the only thing we have.

Blood wars are no longer an option in our time across the rich countries. New wars are too expensive and risky.

Wars are now abstract. Wars involve factual powers whose shadow is unknown and whose attacks are directed to control the terrestrial and the extraterrestrial.

The end of empires has never come. In our time, empires are mainly commercial, managing everything that allowed us to be free.

Now empires dictate what to be and how to be.

Indeed, commercial or blood, all war implies the destruction of every trace that makes us human.

Every war, directly and indirectly, destroys our soul and breaks the only thing we take when we leave.

War destroys what we have lived and what we will no longer discover for ceasing to be ourselves.

There are not strong leaders to help us. Corruption and secrets are always leaked by someone who is behind the scenes.

We are the unique leaders of our time; we are the bosses of our destiny.

We must not perish. Responding to Hamlet, the worthiest thing for the soul is to fight for our fortune, live our lives, and rebel against this wild sea of misery.

The only thing that saves us from interest, the only thing that separates us from greed, the only thing that allows us to see reality is education.

However, all education is written by the victors and not by the vanquished. Our salvation involves investigating, delving into every little remorse and lack of meaning of our multiple thoughts.

The only thing that educates us is ourselves.

What do I mean when I say “Education for Life?” I can present the problem and the solution. The problem is that people in traditional forms of education usually approach it from the standpoint of just preparing a person for a job. But one’s job isn’t the definition of one’s life—it’s only that which enables you to have enough money to meet your needs. Our lives encompass a much broader arena than one’s capacity to earn money. Any educational system that teaches only job skills or offers only intellectual information is neglecting the essential needs of human beings. The solution is a form of education that trains us in that which is most relevant to us—how to find lasting happiness in life.

We deeply need proper training in “how-to-live” skills such as how to find the right mate, how to raise our children, how to be a good employee, how to get along with our neighbors, and how to concentrate our minds so that we can draw success into all our endeavors. There are many such skills that are essential to prepare a child for adulthood, and in traditional education many of them are completely ignored. Education for Life is a system that prepares the child to face the challenges of living as a human being, and helps him to achieve balance and harmony in all he does. What we’re really talking about is preparing everyone, not just children, for true maturity. This is a much bigger concept than just coming of age. As defined it in the book, Education for Life, maturity is the ability to relate appropriately to other realities than one’s own. You’ll find that even people of advanced years are often childish and immature with regard to this definition, yet this ability to relate to others’ realities is what education should accomplish.

Feeling alone

LONELINESS is packed with feelings and emotions. It can consume you at any time – day or night – and create havoc with your emotions. Feeling lonely can cause you to lose perspective and, sometimes, to lose all hope. Even before COVID, we lived in an isolated culture where people were starved for connection. And now with the fear of COVID, loneliness is even more intensified.

There are days when my life is filled with the sound of voices on the phone, or pictures of friends on Zoom and Facetime, and yet, I feel alone. There have been times in my life when I would walk in a church filled with people, or show up at a party where I knew everyone, and yet, I felt alone. At some point, we’ve all experienced feelings of being alone and the shadow of loneliness that follows close behind.

Being alone isn’t a bad thing. It’s a good, necessary, healthy thing. It’s a time to reflect, to appreciate, to think, to create, to process your life. Reflection and synthesis of ideas is crucial to learning and growing, and for many people this can only be done when they are alone. Kierkegaard nails this with one of my favorite quotes: “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.” Damn, Kierkegaard, I bet you spent a ton of time alone.

So why are we so damned afraid of being alone?

Because we’re afraid others will think we’re lonely. There’s something wrong with lonely people, or else why wouldn’t they have people around them? There must be something broken about them! If you learn someone is lonely, you best stay away from them. Leave them to their cats. Loneliness results in more loneliness; it’s a beast that feeds itself. (Please know that I don’t believe any of this — or at least I don’t want to, but these are thoughts that I hear in my head, because Society)

I’m not lonely! I have 2200 facebook friends. Look at all the things I share. Look at all those likes! I have all the likes! And retweets. Don’t even get me started on retweets. I have to call them RTs because I get so many I don’t even have time for all those other letters. Look at me on Instagram! Follow me! #TeamFollowBack Connect with me! Please, please, connect with me. How am I so damned lonely?! Nobody else feels this lonely. Look at all the friends they have on Facebook. Look at all those likes they’re getting…

We are living in a time when it’s easy to feel uncomfortable being alone, because there are so many ways you can “be” with other people. So we’re never truly alone. And that makes it ever more uncomfortable when we feel lonely.

I saw someone post a photo on Facebook last Friday night of themselves with a glass of wine and the caption “Relaxing into a much-needed quiet Friday night date with myself. #DontHate”

The irony hurt. If you really want to be alone, WHY ARE YOU TELLING THE WHOLE WORLD, my brain yelled.

Then I realized I knew the answer: this person is uncomfortable being alone on a Friday night, and this is how they are trying to mitigate that discomfort.

They are seeing all of their friends posting photos of their fun nights out with dozens of people and having so much fun and internalizing all of this as something being wrong with them. Maybe they chose to be alone tonight, or maybe they got ditched by a friend, or maybe they wanted to go out and don’t really have any friends who wanted to go out with them, but, whatever the case, they were probably terrified they would slip from enjoying a night alone into being lonely on a Friday night. The first is good. The second is bad. And maybe a “like” or a reassuring comment would stave that off.

spend a lot of time on the road traveling alone. And during the day, when I’m performing, or visiting a campus, or flying, eating, writing — keeping my mind busy — I’m on the road traveling alone; I’m not lonely on the road. And I enjoy it. I enjoy the aloneness. I thrive in it. But at night, when I get back to my hotel room and plop down on the bed, I regularly toe the line between being alone and being lonely.

I am usually good at landing on the enjoying a night alone side of the line, but sometimes, usually after a particularly long stretch on the road, of if a show doesn’t go as well as I want it to, I’ll find myself stumbling onto the lonely side. It probably doesn’t help that I have this disgusting and self-body-destroying habit of having a huge pizza delivered to my hotel room and eating it by myself in my underwear. And, as I am typing that, I am reminded of this

‘On Running after One’s Hat’ by G K Chesterton.

“I am done with it! I am irritated! This is frustrating! Why does it happen only to me?”

We face problems everyday and life for no reason keeps throwing something at us. Even when our toe gets hit by furniture, we start cursing and stressing. No matter how trivial or challenging a problem is, we constantly worry about it. But all these problems can be romanticized as adventures after reading G K Chesterton’s essay ‘On Running after One’s Hat’.

The essay starts with Chesterton envying people who were in London when it was flooded. He says that Battersea (a place in London) has always been beautiful and the addition of water has made it appear like Venice. He imagines the boat that bought the meat to have moved with the elegance and smoothness of a gondola (a long and narrow boat). 

“There is nothing so perfectly poetical as an island; and when a district is flooded it becomes an archipelago.”

The optimism of the essayist makes him romanticize the flood which we would normally think of as bringing misfortune, destruction and loss.

“The true optimist who sees in such things an opportunity for enjoyment is quite as logical and much more sensible than the ordinary.”

Most of the instances which we perceive as inconveniences are completely related to our mentality and outlook. The essayist gives an instance for example. When there is a delay in the arrival of the train, the grown-ups complain while the children never do. This is because for children, a railway station appears like a ‘cavern of wonder and a palace of poetical pleasure’. The red and green lights of the signal appear to them as the new sun and moon. So if we view such inconveniences as children do, we shall no more perceive them as inconveniences. All the so-called inconveniences depend on how we view it. 

The second instance the essayist gives is running after one’s hat. Many find it unpleasant to run after their hats after being blown away by wind. They run after a ball in a game but not after their own hat as they find it is humiliating.

“When people say it is humiliating they mean it is comic.”

People find it embarrassing as they are laughed at by other onlookers. Their fretful pursuit serves as a source of laughter. But it is all right because everything a human does is comical.

He also says that running after one’s hat has the potential of becoming a sport and it can be an alternative to poaching. “He might regard himself as a jolly huntsman pursuing a wild animal,…”. The essayist imagines it to be a common sport among the upper class. They would have their personal assistants run after the hat on a windy day and it would provide them a hearty laughter. This will be less painful than animal hunting too. The essayist says that we should be relieved of distress if our actions can provide laughter for others.

The essayist recalls how his friend struggled with a jammed drawer everyday. So, he points out to his friend that he is always finding the drawer troublesome because he always opens it while thinking that it should be easy to open the drawer. He says that the main problem lies with his friend’s outlook. Hence, he advises his friend to think of himself as “pulling against some powerful and oppressive enemy” or as participating in some fearsome tug war. If he imagines such situations when pulling the drawer, then it will no longer be an inconvenience but an adventure.

So, if we develop a positive outlook on everything that we encounter everyday, maybe life won’t be as hard as we think. After all,

“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.”