Education is our world's most important institution. Education is essential for bringing peace, prosperity and equality. There is no greater asset to an individual than an educated mind. There is no greater asset to the world than an educated population. Our world's education system should be given the utmost priority today, ensuring a brighter tomorrow.
A brain is like any other muscle. Some humans have bigger muscles. Some humans are better equipped for thinking. However, there is no reason why a slower brain cannot become quicker. Just as training and exercising make muscles grow, reading and learning can make a brain more fit and better equipped for thought.
Granted, the limits which can be attained by any human will at some level be preordained by genetics, however, it would only be the difference between a genius and a super genius - an experienced weightlifter vs. a world's strongest human.
I firmly believe the level achieved by any human is a result of the opportunities they were presented with during their lives. Mentally challenged aside, if given a lifetime of opportunities, everyone in the world has the ability to take any career path they choose; be it doctor, architect, or politician. It is only the opportunity that is lacking, not the potential.
If everyone in the world has the same opportunity to get a good education from preschool to PhD, socio-economic backgrounds will not be more important to success than drive and ambition. If we look at the hierarchies that exist within our society, it is not abilities that separates people, it is opportunities. When a group of people keep the best education for themselves, over time, a gap will develop between those who have and those who have not.
In our world there is not just two sides, but a spectrum from poor to rich, with the most educational opportunities going to the wealthy. It is easy to see how a ruling class can deny knowledge to a subordinate class, thereby making it easier for the rulers to remain in charge, and for their offspring to continue the trend.
Humans who are born into subordinate roles are taught that they belong where they are put, since they are somehow inferior. If someone accepts a subordinate role, they may never seek to rise above. Once we are denied the same learning experiences that those in power receive, we miss the opportunity that knowledge provides. Education gives us confidence; we learn to believe in ourselves.
Only when we learn enough to question the rationale behind the system, can we become empowered enough to rise above oppression and encourage change. Knowledge breaks down injustices in the system. History shows this, both with Black rights and female rights. Subordinate positions, for race and gender still exist in the world, but education will break down these barriers. Education is empowering.
On a global scale, the more knowledge humanity has, the more power we all have. An educated public is less easily controlled by corrupt legislation. Education brings power to the people, and that power can negate injustice and exploitation. An educated public can end the tyrannical rule that has been perpetuated for millenia. Once enough individuals are empowered with enough knowledge, equality will happen on earth.
There is a lot of anger in our world. Everyday, we bear witness to violent acts. Where does violence come from? Violence starts with ignorance; we fear what we do not understand; we tend to hate what we fear; hate turns into anger, and one outlet for a surplus of anger is violence.[George Lucas via Yoda]
Whenever we encounter – either mentally or physically - a situation where we cannot find a solution, we feel helpless. We hate feeling helpless. We hate being unable to express our emotions. When we lack a way to comprehend or communicate the emotions we are feeling, we become frustrated at our own inabilities. We hate the feeling of losing power over the situation. We fear our own ignorance – our own imperfections – so we get defensive, which can result in negative behaviour.
As we learn more and more, our level of self-understanding increases and our dependence on violence decreases. Education brings peace to the individual. When we learn ways to communicate our feelings, and understand our emotions, we can confront our deepest fears and search for inner peace. The more individuals who are at peace, the more peaceful our world will be.
A lot of hate is perpetuated throughout our world... generations of ignorance being passed down. With knowledge, we learn some important virtues: patience, tolerance and acceptance. By learning; by going beyond what we already know, we can overcome our own misconceptions, thereby overcoming our own hatreds. Expanding our understanding and learning new things allows us to overcome ignorance.
As we gain wisdom, fears and prejudice evaporate, allowing us to appreciate the splendid plethora that is humanity. Education teaches us that despite superficial differences, all humans are essentially the same. We are all of the same species, we all share the same genes. We are all members of one family sharing one world.
Education allows us to communicate with words instead of weapons. Communication is essential to diplomacy and peaceful co-existence. If humans had the ability to communicate with one another across language, religious and cultural barriers, we would not need to devote so many resources towards warfare. Instead, we could build a trusting relationship, sharing knowledge and resources for the betterment of all.
I believe that nearly all humans in the world could live next door to anyone else in the world, and live in harmony. Most of us are non-violent. Peace is only a dream because it has not yet become a reality, not because it is a fantasy. Once enough people learn and believe that peace is possible, peace will become inevitable. Education is key for bringing peace to our world.
What is it that most of us want more than anything else? A long and healthy life. The longer and healthier our life, the more fulfilled we are, right? Well, what brings a long and healthy life more than anything? Knowledge – learning how to live right combined with the latest in science and medicine.
Statistically, the higher one's level of education, the higher the quality of life. This comes from the obvious benefits that increased education provides: more career options, a higher salary, more confidence, more respect in society, and more time to learn how to live. Knowledge truly is power.
Most of all that we learn and all the technology that we use everyday comes from humankind's knowledge base. Everything our species knows is the product of thousands of years of advancements in different areas of understanding. New technology and new advancements come when education meets ingenuity. Meme theory shows that the more information we all know, the more progress will occur.
What's meme theory? Meme theory is simply a way of looking at how information is spread throughout our world. A meme (rhymes with dream) is an abstract view of a unit of information. Everything we know, from the smallest bits of information (like a letter in the alphabet) to complex concepts (like the Theory of Everything), can be thought as single meme or a meme made up of a combination of other memes.
We can think of the human brain as a computer: a meme processing unit (MPU). Most of what everyone thinks everyday has already been thought of, but, occasionally, a few memes come together in a way that has not yet been processed and progress occurs. Progress never comes in huge chunks, only tiny advancements at a time. Like coral, humanity's knowledge continually grows off the existing base.
Now, if you think of humanity as a distributed meme processing machine – a supercomputer of interconnected MPUs spanning the globe - then the more we know as a species, the higher the probability of new discoveries being found. The more discoveries we find, the better off we all are. When we increase the amount of education all of us receive, we increase the amount of progress that will happen. Education brings prosperity.
There is an ideal future we can all envision. A world of peace, where everyone lives with security. A world where everyone can have shelter, clothing, food, and, of course, entertainment. Education is key to bringing us this future. Shifting more resources into education will have dramatic effects, resulting in more progress and an increase in the standard of living for all.
If we had the resources, we could build towards a system where, if students continually made progress, they can get whatever they need to stay in school. Health care, boarding costs, child support are all available, thereby allowing everyone access to education. A better system could be tolerant to the differences in learning abilities that exist. Each student can learn at a pace catered to them, allowing everyone to reach their full potential.
Who is going to pay for this? Where is the money going to come from to dramatically improve the world's education system? The truth is that the resources already exist to improve the quality of the education system. However, education is not given a high priority; it is put into the background when it could be our utmost priority.
Reallocating where we spend our resources could allow for vast improvements to our world. Imagine if the combined military budgets of the world were used for education instead of war? Instead of destruction, we could focus on construction - books instead of bombs.
Another way of allocating resources is to implement a capital cap on a global scale, so we can devote the world's profits towards things that will improve the quality of our future, like education. As the cost of technology decreases, low cost solutions make improved education an economically feasible option for the entire world.
Significant progress can happen in our lifetimes. The more we invest now, the higher the probability of our lives improving. We need to reassess the importance that education can play in our lives, for a better today and a brighter tomorrow. A better world is not far off, and improving our world's education will help bring us there.
Next Chapter: The Capital Cap