Why do we need education? A life journey to enlightenment
“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul,
and paints his own nature into his pictures.”
Henry Ward Beecher
Already for multiple generations we are aware that education keeps the society evolving. Normally, education has to push us toward self-discovery, shape our identity and empower us to reshape the world around us. We hope that education serves as a catalyst for empathy and collective progress. But is education only possible in the classrooms with the supervision of often disappointed educators?
“Know thyself”, as carved at the Apollo’s temple in Delphi, Greece, has occupied the minds of the philosophers since ancient times. Later Friedrich Nietzsche explored this concept further, inviting everyone to become “the master of their own fate,” by critically examining their beliefs and values. In my opinion, creative people are often confronted with the self identity. Take, for example, Egon Schiele’s self-portraits. Looking at the twisted limbs, you feel his confusion with the world. Chuck Close’s hyperrealistic self portraits take it even further. They capture the intricacies of the human face, inviting viewers to reflect on their own identity and uniqueness, waking up our self-awareness.
In contrast to the usual artistic approach, Damien Hirst in his work “The physical impossibility of death in the mind of someone living” presents a preserved shark in formaldehyde. In this way he provokes us even more to think about life, death, and existence.
In other words, working on one’s own self awareness and thinking about others can open hidden facets of the consciousness and force inner metamorphosis.
The way to enlightenment
The humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers was convinced that exploring own thoughts and feelings fosters deeper self-understanding. It feels like going along the “Spiral Jetty,” a land art by Robert Smithson, that gets us closer to the core of ourself. Also, Anish Kapoor’s works focus on our self-search and play with our perception of space and reality. His works, like portals, create a sense of wonder and contemplation, invite viewers to step into a distorted space, expanding our understanding of reality.
A great example of life transformation and the journey to enlightenment can be found in David Bowie’s “Blackstar,” where various musical styles in combination with enigmatic lyrics help to explore themes of mortality and transcendence.
This means, that education is more than just acquiring knowledge, it’s about the ability to grow and develop yourself. Education helps to delve into the works of philosophers, scientists, artists, and thinkers who have shaped our collective consciousness; to get in contact with different cultures, perspectives, and ideologies, fostering empathy and nurturing our ability to connect with diverse individuals.
Society and the world are always evolving somewhere. But multiple artists put spotlight on changes that are not really going to the ideal future. Glenn Ligon, in the work “I AM A MAN,” criticises the civil rights protest signs and the power of the collective actions and the fight for equality. Every brushstroke, sculpture, or piece of music becomes a testament to our ability to evolve and inspire collective progress. Only if all people are ready for the metamorphosis we can evolve as a society.
Education guides us out of ignorance, allowing us to engage in meaningful conversations that enrich our lives. In our interconnected world, being a responsible global citizen is crucial. Education can foster a deep understanding of diverse cultures and global issues. But education is not just about textbooks and classrooms, it’s about the lifelong process that shapes our mind, values, and the very essence of who we are. To think beyond borders and take actions addressing global challenges.
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