“The educated differ from the uneducated as much as the living differ from the dead.”
The other day I visited Simon Fraser University, advantageously situated to overlook the mountains that stand guard over the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. I felt the energy of learning the minute I stepped through the doors and saw students with books and laptops studying in solo, duet, and trio formations. It was exam week; tensions were high, the atmosphere filled with enough brain activity to power the campus streetlights for the coming week. Somewhere between the pages of a text and the long hours of study resides the hope that education will provide a way to participate within the world.
Participating is contributing. When Hipparchus was inspired to compile a catalogue of the 850 or so stars whose positions were then known, he was contributing to collective wisdom. As was Claudius Ptolemy when he wrote Almagest! As was Arete when she wrote forty books and taught one hundred and ten philosophers over the course of her life.
The nature of education, regardless of varying methodologies, has not changed over the centuries. It is humanity’s way of transferring knowledge and wisdom from one generation to the next, much like a relay race without end. Great thinkers know that the outcome of education is action. Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Learning takes on many appearances; it shifts our thinking, challenges our beliefs and fills us with passion to seek better outcomes for ourselves, our families and our communities, local and global.
“When you know better you do better.”