Education.

I had gone to Khandala two days ago to be part of the faculty for an informal training programme for some middle level managers. During this programme I got to meet and get to know a few MBAs and was appalled at their approach to business which is quite different from what it was during my days in management. This led me to quote Robert Fulghum to them in a different context than I had originally planned to do. For a recap, let me reproduce the quote here.

“All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be, I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the sand pile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned. These are the things you already know: Share everything. Play fair. Don’t hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don’t take things that aren’t yours. Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.”

In my opinion that is getting an education. It is possible to be educated without being literate and / or qualified with some diploma or degree.

Again to quote a great spiritual teacher, Vivekananda on education so that where I intend going with this post becomes clear: “You will be nearer to Heaven through football than through the study of Gita. You will understand Gita better by your biceps, with your muscles a little stronger. You will understand the Upanishads better and the glory of the Atman, when your body stands firm on your feet and you feel yourself as a man.” The subtlety here may be difficult but to sum up his advice, be strong in body before you attempt to learn about matters spiritual.

I personally was an indifferent student in school quite content with getting the equivalent of what is now the “C” grades. I however had to write my School Leaving Certificate examinations twice before I could get the certificate which took me on a different tangent than my classmates in terms of formal education. You can read about that in the post on Ambition that I have written some years ago.

I however flatter myself that I am educated because I have learnt how to learn. And that in my opinion sums up what education is. At least in my opinion, it is not getting a degree or a PhD, but being smart enough to make a life on this planet. Let me share a short story.

I recently saw a short film in Kannada, one of our regional languages. The hero is an illiterate odd jobs man employed in a temple. The temple management terminates his employment to replace him with a literate man who can double as a clerk as well. Dejected, the hero by accident discovers an opportunity to be a businessman repairing punctured tubes of motorcycles, cars and bicycles. From that base, he grows into a tycoon producing and marketing large volumes of tyres and tubes. An interviewer asks him to imagine what he could have become if he had been literate and he responds – “A temple Clerk”.

You know why they don’t send donkeys to college?

Because no one likes a smartass.

Shackman has suggested this topic for the weekly LBC blog posts. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  Maria, Pravin, Ashok and Shackman.

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