For a while now, I have been reading Sophie’s world which I feel is the best introductory book on philosophy. Learning philosophy mean rejuvenating ourselves, looking ourselves in a completely different world. The book defines philosophy as something that leaves us in the sense of wonder. I felt it is entirely right after reading great philosophers like Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Rene Descartes, Spinoza to mention a few. All of them are independent thinkers who tried to use their reason to understand the natural world.
From a world of independent thinkers to a world of dependent thinkers, the transition has been rapid. Yes, we depend too much on others or on something else to comprehend a concept or an issue. For example, a 17th-century man had used his reason to sort out why an apple falls. But a man of the 21st-century would google the concept rather than striving to understand the concept using his reason. We live in a world where everyone is connected, and everything is one click away. Where is the sense of wonder in knowing something alien to us?
The sense of wonder is an innate ability of everyone. A child questions everything surrounding him. As he/she grows, unknowingly loses interest to ask questions. Finally, it develops into a situation where the individual seldom uses the reason to find answers. And this is more evident in the current world.
Our education system is designed to meet the standards mentioned above. Notably, in countries like India where there is a considerable population who don’t get to see the school, it is foolish to talk about the ideal school. But some people know the need of a perfect school which pushes the students to use their reason. I used to think it is the responsibility of the teachers and the school to guide students into the right way of thinking up until I conversed with my school principal (Now I’m pursuing my B-Tech 3rd year). I realised that there are many factors like parental care, parents having awareness on the way child thinks, environment etc. So, it takes all these aspects along with the school and teachers to nurture a child. When the fundamental ideals during childhood are not right, even the best schools and teachers who knew the power of reason may not change a child.
Maturity also plays a key role. For example, maybe because of the lack of support from factors mentioned above, I had no maturity to not go through the rote way of learning. But now I realise that I should have acted in a better way. When this realisation hits, when there is literature out there to change one’s attitude, there is a possibility of looking at things with distinct perspective. It takes an effort to come out of the routine and practice the art of reasoning.
If you are someone who had been through ideal schooling encompassing the factors mentioned above, you are lucky.
If you are not, then what is your plan?