So I borrowed a random book from the library a few days ago, called ‘A Time for New Dreams’ by Ben Okri. I had no idea who the author was. He seems to be a poet and this book is just some collections of his essay. One essay caught my attention when I was flipping through the pages.. The first paragraph hit me right in the heart.
The university of the future will do one thing we do not do today.They will teach the art of self-discovery. There is nothing more fundamental in education.
I know that this issue has nothing to do with my life right now, let alone with the global issues this world is facing.. but well, I always a thing for education even though I am not working in education industry or volunteering as teacher somewhere.. Education will always have a place in my heart, especially the art of self-discovery.
I’m not gonna bore you furthermore with my thoughts and opinions. Who has the time these days to read a long post with no pictures in it. Probably our brains have gotten used to scrolling photos, videos, insta-stories, snap-chats in an auto-pilot mode. It is hard to find time to slow down, relax and just read.
But if you’re interested, here is the essay that I am talking about..
The university of the future will do one thing we do not do today. They will teach the art of self-discovery. There is nothing more fundamental in education.
We turn out students from our universities who know how to give answers, but not how to ask the essential questions. They leave universities with skills for the workplace, but with little knowledge of the best way to live, or what is living for.
They are not taught how to see. They are not taught how to listen. They are not taught how to connect with the wisdom in the world. They are not taught the art of obedience conjoined with intelligence, and how it precedes self-mastery.
They are not taught the art of reading. True reading is not just passing our eyes over words on a page, or even understanding what is being read. True reading is a creative act. It means seeing first; and then a subsequent act of the imagination. Higher reading ought to be a subject in the universities of the future. As we read, so we are.
On the whole, people do not actually read what is in front of them. They read what is only already inside them. I suspect this is true of listening; and that is happening now, even as I speak to you, or as you read this page.
All our creativity, our innovations, our discoveries come from being able first to see what is there, and not there; to hear what is said, and not said. Above all to think clearly; to be nourished by silence. And beyond that – the art of intuition.
The universities of the future will have to engage the sublime value of intuition in our lives and work. How to make those intuitive leaps that can transform humanity, how to make this mysterious faculty available to all – this will be the true turning point in the future history of civilisation.
Discipline, hard work, rationality, calculation can get us only so far, and have become the norm. With these alone we produce efficient but mediocre citizens. But the art of intuition, the mysterious spark that separates the truly great artists and scientists and philosophers form the ordinary, this will one day have to be studied and developed in every human being for the highest benefits of the human race.
We need to teach students the inevitable necessity of self-discovery. Higher consciousness studies ought to be a fundamental part of education. All students ought to be philosophers. All students ought to be aware that they are the true spark for the transformation of the world. All students ought to be practical dreamers.
Universities ought not only to turn out students for the various spheres of business, science, the arts, and the general running of the society. They also need to awaken students into becoming people who enrich the life of the planet.
We are more than the jobs that we do. We are the co-makers of this world that we live in. The moral force of citizen is too little used in the greater transformation of our world. We take the living potential that are young minds and turn them, reduce them, only into job-fillers and economy providers. We have regressed from Plato’s dream – the wonderful project of his academy.
Every student is a light, a creative spark, waiting to be of use in dispelling the darkness. The terms in which I speak might seem alien, but will become inevitable.
Every day the crisis of purpose grows larger in the lives of people; and prosperity and poverty does not diminish the paralysis it will bring if not addressed. A lack of understanding why it exists, or of its larger purpose in the scheme of things, is how society quietly perishes.
The universe grows more mysterious around us even as we find out more about it. The true reason is this: we are more than we suspect, but we are taught to see less in ourselves, to ask no questions about our true inner nature. And so the great mystery within peers into the greater mystery without. A mystery stares into a mystery; this is a hopeless position.
We ought now to conjoin faith in evidence with a need for self-discovery. Knowledge of self ought to be the great project of our lives. Knowing ourselves we will know others. Only by knowing ourselves can we begin to undo the madness we unleash on the world in our wars, our destruction of the environment, our divisions, our desires to dominate others, the poverty we create and exploit. Only through self-knowledge can we reverse the damage we do with all the worldly knowledge we have, which has been only a higher ignorance.
The true purpose of the university ought to be to unleash the sublime possibilities of the human spirit. Education is still in its infancy. The true education looms over the horizon, where our disasters are being born. There we will learn to avert what evils we ourselves have created. Then we will start again the great project of humanity, with humility and a new light.