Education and humility are considered synonymous. It is taken for granted, as a natural assumption that education results in humility, that it helps you become a better person. That somehow, when you exit an educational institution, you are enlightened, empathetic, understanding and gentle but most of all, humble.
This assumption might have been true for the ancient period – the age of the gurukula system, I do not see that happening today. Education today deals with the creation of ego – the creation of a hierarchy, a hegemony. Humility is a joke and education a farce. I do not think we can find a solution for this sudden shift nor can we attempt at identifying one sole reason for it.
If I were to get into an institution hoping to learn life skills, I would be utterly disappointed. Although, me wanting to learn life skills from an institution itself would be ideal – the only point of me wanting to go to school or college is to acquire – no – learn to duplicate skills that other institutions consider necessary in order to be looked at as a “functional” human being.
I pretend to learn, to understand in order to be recruited for a job where I can pretend to work so that I earn enough money in order to pretend to enjoy my social life with the specific person that I will pretend to love for the rest of my life. My whole life revolves around pretension.
And how do I manage to ignore this seemingly established superficial outlook towards life? I pretend to be better than other people who are again pretending to be better than me. Gradually, this transcends into my reality, I begin to believe that I am better – I am no longer pretending – It becomes my reality. And where have I learnt to master this art of manipulating the divide between reality and illusion? In the educational institutions that I have attended.
My entrance to an institution is itself rooted in the assumption that the amount of money that I can spare for “pretending to learn” somehow makes me a better candidate to this particular institution than another person who cannot afford it. The course I choose to pursue also molds my ego. By choosing science, I am subjected to teachers and professors who themselves “pretend” to be better than the professors of Arts.
This situation is however, no better in the Arts field, we are taught to be snobs from the start – because we apparently have more knowledge of the world in all its intricacies when compared to our less fortunate colleagues. However, it is disheartening to see that all this knowledge does nothing to our overarching sense of self-importance. Nope, we walk with our heads high – noses pointed towards the sky with the misconception that we are better at life than anyone else alive.
It has been a very rare occurrence when I have seen a shred of humility among academicians and students. I have no hope in an education system where genuine questions (if any) are ostracized by sarcastic comebacks, honest effort is looked down upon, discipline is belittled, knowledge and humility are dethroned by presentation and pretentiousness, eagerness is defaced and apathy prevails.