The wisest mind has something yet to learn.
– George Santayana
Santayana, a distinguished philosopher, knew about a lifetime of learning and why it was necessary. He imparted much advice about how to live a satisfying life.
The first schools for formal learning taught philosophy as their main subject. Philosophy taught about life and since the ancient Greeks often didn’t live to a very old age because they were often at war, knowledge about life needed to be taught to young people before they needed it.
Today we teach people how to cope with life after they already have problems, in the offices of therapists, marriage counselors or prison psychologists.
One bit of advice that seemed to pervade Greek philosophy was the need for continual learning, a lifetime of self education.The concept of lifelong learning has received new breath in recent years as we have discovered that our recent ancestors learned too little about life over their adult years. This resulted in social (community) problems of unparalelled proportions.
The twist on the ancient theme these days is that job security is so undependable that we need to continually learn new skills and knowledge bases in order to be prepared if our present job disappears. However, the rate of personal problems among our society–not the least of which are a divorce rate over 50 percent and mood altering drugs being the biggest selling pharmaceuticals–testifies that even today’s adults that are learning new skills don’t know enough to be able to cope with the rigours of their lives.
When a greater proportion than ever before of citizens are behind bars for criminal offences, people gobble mood changing drugs prescribed by their doctors, others use “recreational” drugs regularly, the numbers of homeless people is soaring and private homes are no longer secure because drug users need to break in to steal stuff they can sell to buy their addictive substance of choice, we need to acknowledge that something is wrong.
Our solutions to the problems are to put more people in prison, prescribe more drugs and idolize more movie stars whose behaviour is aberrant or outright anti-social. Our solutions don’t seem to be working.
If we can’t cure the problem, then we must prevent the disease. We must equip young people with the knowledge and skills they need about life before they destroy their own. Or have a family, break it up and leave children to learn the lessons of life the hard way, on the streets. That’s not happening to every family, but then not every family has their house broken into, their children hooked on drugs or office rage making the workplace a dangerous situation either. Murder and suicide are both, in many places, at all-time high levels.
It’s time we learned our lessons.
Teach the children.
Teach children what they need to know instead of what industry wants them to know to populate their workplaces. Teach both, but make sure the kids learn about life and learn life skills.
Right now, many of them know almost nothing about life. Except that there is something wrong with it. They’re learning that the hard way.
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, striving to tell it like it is about life’s trials and the needs we have to learn about how to cope with them.
Learn more at http://billallin.com