The Unlearning of Science

Since time immemorial curious adolescents have been yearning to know more and discover facts and skills they never knew. They had been searching far and wide for higher knowledge power and skills and that thirst brought them towards a master, guru or a sensai to prove their worth to be able to be recruited as their disciple. Thus the guru-shishay parampara (teacher-student relationship) was born.

Young men had to be tested through tough ordeals to be able to withhold the burden of the wisdom they wanted to procure. It was an intensely deep life changing experience with the disciple giving his full dedication and loyalty to the guru in order to learn. The guru in return provided not only knowledge unknown to the student but also polished not only the student’s skills but gave him everlasting wisdom and emotional and spiritual guidance. It was a full package, there wasn’t a single aspect of the student’s life which the guru wouldn’t nourish. It was a complete transformation of mind, body and soul and when the disciple had his training complete he would set on his own path and be prepared for any trials and tribulations that could await him. He was ready for the world and it’s challenges, entirely. The guru would nourish and nurture the personality of the student. The teachings of the great gurus Buddha, Confucius, Shams Tabrezi, were so valuable that they have been preserved uptil today as valuable lessons passed on from disciple to disciple. Teaching is a great responsibility indeed, to be a teacher is to be in a profoundly revered profession.

But along the way, what happened? Whatsoever happened to the great masters of old? It was not that they hadn’t been training enough disciples. Truly they had. But somehow, somewhere, with the onset of modernity, brevity and popular culture, a new school of system was born. It was nowhere near the classical schools of old, the Gymnasiums of Ancient Rome and Greece, neither similar to the library-school Madrassa complexes of the Orient churning out polymaths and geniuses of the likes of Avicenna and Al Beruni. It was a decadent system that ensued, eventually hiding a sinister vile and sadism. Children were forced at an unusually early age to attend strict and essentially cruel disciplining at the “school”, a word now used for children’s education building rather than it’s original context in the meaning of a university like institute for nurturing of mind and body for people of all ages and walks of life. Take any example of a western school of the 1800-1900s the treatment of children would give anyone nightmares. As it would happen the retransformation of the education system into a grostesque version of itself continued as the centuries turned. Initially it was a spectacular scenario of Leuvenhook, Louis Pasteur, Alexander Flemming, Edison, Tesla, Madame Marie Curie and Rosalind Franklin, people with curious natures being scientific detectives delving into unknown territories of the nature of life, and it’s chemical and physical aspects. It was an exhilarating adventure and the thrill was indescribable.

And what ensued was eventually the sickening and degradation of the wonderful beginning of scientific curiosity. That adventure faded and what overcame was a bitter, abhorrent, uncivil core of an overpolished shiny facade of modernization. The gurus and masters faded away, and no apprentices or shagird, or disciples remained. What formed was a system of acquisition of a “job” a monthly errand which had to be performed to pay the “bills” and “rent’. It was a ritual which monotonously continued throughout months and years and provided little self improvement and self growth, both for the person in the job and the people interacting. Thus teaching became a profession and academia was born absolutely nothing like the science academies of Archimedes, Socrates or Hippocrates.

With the industrial revolution and the explosive increase in the world population the “competition” for these unusually strange and inefficient “jobs” increased exponentially. A culture of intense competition was born which was just the beginning of a dreadfully drastic culture. The rest of what happened is something you can look around and observe now at the modern “education” system which prevails. Adolescents in India and many other countries in the world commit suicide as a product of this modern education. Anyone seen “3 Idiots”? Anyone remember the lesson or the moral of the story? No. Of course no. No one cares about the lessons and morals and the take home message from ANYTHING anymore, and here it means science too. There are no lessons left anywhere. It’s just a spiritless trash can of facts and figures being forcibly entered into the robotic minds of modern students and sadistically judging them on the basis of the length of the numerical values they were able to reproduce. We learn the facts and scientists names, dates or birth and discovery dates and mechanism of action but NOT the Lesson! We are told to learn anything but the lesson! Robert Kiyosaki says in the Rich Dad,

We learn nothing from history, we learn the facts and dates and not the lesson.

The same goes for academia. I feel in every subject we learn facts and names and dates and no lesson. The ancient gurus are long gone. Knowledge is long gone. Faded away are the lessons and trainings of the spirit and mind by those prodigal gurus. What has left is a stale institution of running in a rat race to learn to secure a job, get a hold of an unworthy job and compete fiercely with a closed mind and nonexistent soul with your rivals and secure pension and somehow secure a name, a name which will never be known by more than a handful of people, a fame which exists only in your own mind. It’s become the flashy world of academic professors turning into celebrities with the selfies, magazines printing their mental content in place of their photographs, but still their pics and in-your-face self promotion, self projection at every platform and media imaginable. It’s a social illness.Surely the true teachers of old taught self annihilation instead of self promotion, Nirvana anyone? The band? I expect that from modern people instead of understanding that the meaning of nir-vaan-a was to blow onself out, i.e. self annihilation.The only salvage and refuge I find from the diseased minds of today, is the blessing that the teachings of the Masters of old times still remain intact and preserved like glistening stars in the dark sky. Their teachings have made them immortal, and no one from the handicapped modern education system can ever manage to get anywhere close to the knowledge that the ancient gurus had, simply because they only nourish their minds and not their souls. They are empty “ghosts in the shell” just as Robert Kiyosaki, the only one who I would call a modern guru, categorizes them as “Fake Teachers”.

Images credit: Pixabay

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