As humans, our whole life revolves around important things. An individual life flows from childhood to the adulthood and finally culminating into old age (Old age of our body, and not of our mind and soul). Each stage of human life is mapped as well as tied to its important goals and responsibilities, and its do’s and don’ts. From capital letters to making a capital, we keep traversing through days, weeks and years without even getting a single ‘Why’ in our minds. We are taught hundreds of subjects on matters that won’t matter next year. But, we are never taught the answers for very rudimentary questions like who we are, why we are the way we are, how we feel or why should we do what we do. Education that we receive in schools and colleges renders us with insecurity for a lifetime. Right from the day one at school we get an assignment and the consequences if we couldn’t complete it. And insecurity instills fear in our minds: a fear that remains within us until we take our last breath. We are insecure about our relationships. We are made insecure about our career. And now, with the power of internet and media, we are made to feel insecure about almost everything. The schools and colleges are more concerned about completing the syllabus and students are busy with their assignments because they are repeatedly told how critically important it is. But at the same time, we are not important. Our feelings are not important. Our interests and passions are not important. But, the marks, the grades and later a job is more important. Education’s goal is not to make us understand the world around us and ourselves. Its goal doesn’t direct it to teach us how to make our lives better, healthier and happier. Its goal somehow, maybe by a huge mistake, has been devised to send the whole humanity to one destination called depression.
We have solved thousands of problems of mathematics and have written answers to hundreds of questions that are forgotten now. But the problems that we face in the real life are mostly not mathematical but are emotional and psychological. Most of us have very little or no clue about the solution to such problems. We are not taught to see the bigger picture of this universe and our lives. We are left on our own to figure it out. Some of us manage to do that, while most of us never even get time to even think about it. You can see the result. A world where people inhale stress and depression and exhale bitterness and hatred. The air of social atmosphere has never been more polluted. When Robin Williams took his life, the whole world went into a shock. Same thing happened when Chester Bennington chose to leave this world and his millions of worldwide fans into deep mourning. What hadn’t they achieved in their lives, we wonder? Maybe everything that we think and taught we should but maybe not what they needed the most: a relief from an agonizing pain that they might have been living alone with for a long time. Matthew Perry (Chandler Bing), one of my favorite TV characters (and I’m sure you are his fan too), also became the victim of depression which led to drug addiction. I’m happy that now he has come out of it. I’m mentioning their names because I absolutely love them and I felt so much pain when I got to know their tragic stories. I personally don’t want anyone to go through so much of misery and pain that forces them to give away the most precious gift of life that every day brings to us.
You may wonder why do I stress more on education than any other factor that can be the cause of current abysmal condition of our society. It is because I feel education is the only medicine that can cure the disease of depression. Depression is not like a cold or viral fever that comes, stays for a few days and leaves. Depression is like a seed planted in our brains at very early age and as we grow up, it grows too, just like a tree. And one day it becomes so huge that our body and mind cannot contain it. Its root, so deep, its trunk so strong and its branches so long that our tiny little heart no more feels that its place is safe with it. This is when the tragedy happens. Recently a school student killed herself because she couldn’t top the class. I wish she was told at least once that not topping the class is not the end of the world and it is not required to lead a happy and successful life. Right education can kill the seed very early and prevent the disaster. We are taught so many theories in science, mathematics and economics. Why can’t we taught the theory of human emotions and their well being? Why can’t our subjects in school include our social psychology and behavior. Why is a seven year old kid branded as dumb if he/she performs bad in scoring good marks/grades? Why is he/she asked that what’s wrong with him/her? Why don’t teachers ask what’s wrong with them or the subject? Or why is not a kid asked about how he/she feels about a particular subject? Why a kid has to go through so much pressure at such an early age to fight the competition in a blindly advancing world? Why a kid is not told by his/her parents and teachers that it’s fine to do bad in exams? There are thousands of such questions. Asking and answering such questions is the responsibility of our education. And here, by education, I don’t only mean by the education we get at school, but also the one that we get at home. I feel, parents need education too. People are great at their day job, but fail as father/mother. What kind of society is it? The job of parents is not just to produce kids and earn money to send them to the most expensive/prestigious schools/colleges, but also to teach the values of a good, meaningful and fulfilling life. If parents are unable to do that, they are a colossal failure.
I believe, it’s not the nuclear war or terrorism which is the enemy of our world; it’s the hopelessness and meaninglessness of a culture which we are moving towards. A culture that is depriving us of the oxygen called empathy. As we have advanced and continued to do so, the advancement, slowly and constantly, has, in a way, separated us from us. We have no time for ourselves as well as for other people we care about even though we pretend to do so all day long. Selfishness has clouded our emotional intelligence and covered the kindness and compassion that resides deep in our hearts. Collectively, we call this feeling Love. Talking of heart, when was the last you kept your hand on it….took a deep breath and then took a sigh of a relief….and felt your own heartbeat? Can’t remember? Maybe, you can do it now….and experience this beautiful life first hand…….