What really is — “Being Educated”?

Have we ever asked ourselves what education means? Why do we go to school, why do we learn various subjects, why do we pass examinations and compete with each other for better grades? What does this so-called education mean, and what is it all about? This is really a very important question, not only for the students, but also for the parents, for the teachers, and for everyone who loves this earth. Why do we go through the struggle to be educated? Is it merely in order to pass some examinations and get a job?

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Having a job and earning one’s livelihood is necessary – but is that all? Are we being educated only for that? Surely, life is not merely a job, an occupation; life is something extraordinarily wide and profound, it is a great mystery, a vast realm in which we function as human beings. If we merely prepare ourselves to earn a livelihood, we shall miss the whole point of life; and to understand life is much more important than merely to prepare for examinations and become very proficient in mathematics, physics, or what you will. 

So, whether we are teachers or students, is it not important to ask ourselves why we are educating or being educated? And what does life mean?

What is the ultimate objective that education strives to achieve? Should it not expand our abilities to think freely? As we educate ourselves in various subjects and acquire various certifying degrees it is also important to pause to verify whether this whole process of getting educated has made us capable enough to understand the whole process of life.

The world is ripe with conflicting beliefs, with religion and class distinctions, with separative nationalities, with every form of insanity and cruelty – and this is the world you are being educated to fit into. Isn’t that an irony?

Life is the deprived and the rich; life is the constant battle between groups, races and nations; life is meditation; life is what we call spirituality, and it is also the subtle, hidden things of the mind – the envies, the ambitions, the passions, the fears, fulfilments and anxieties. All this and much more is life.

Surely, education has no meaning unless it helps you to understand the vast expanse of life with all its subtleties, with its extraordinary beauty, its sorrows and joys. One may earn degrees; one may have a series of letters after their name and land a very good job; but then what? What is the point of it all if in the process your mind becomes dull, weary and unwise? And is it not the true function of education to cultivate in you the intelligence which will try to find the answer to all these problems?

Not to banalize but to learn to discover – that is education, is it not?


This post is a remix and contains quotes from the works of J Krishnamurti.


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