The Illuminations Workshop

‘Illuminations’ is the name of a book by Professor A.K. Saran, a critic of modernity and one of the great scholars of modern India. The byline of the book ‘A School for the Regeneration of Man’s Experience, Imagination and Intellectual Integrity’ gives us an idea about the book. The book is based on the insight that we have to break out of the trap of modernity if we are to live a full life. The technique the book advocates is to read, contemplate and discuss short paragraphs taken from the works of some insightful modern philosophers. The contemplation and discussion about the paragraphs that catch our attention can potentially help us see through the veil of modernity.

In the workshop on ‘Illuminations’ participants will read through the abridged text of the book and discuss the short paragraphs (that we shall provide) among themselves and with the facilitators. We invite you to a 4-day retreat to engage in this contemplative conversation.

The following excerpt from the book will shine a light on the context of the workshop:

“The idea of this School originates from the conviction that modern higher education in India has totally failed in all important ways and the universities and all other wings of the educational establishment are working towards the perpetuation and reinforcement of a deadening of the mind and imagination of those who go through them. . . . Further, there is the conviction that the ruling elite of independent India inherited from its former Masters the task of strengthening inertia and promoting intellectual degeneration and it clings to this alien heritage with a vengeance; it is clear, therefore, that no matter how loud and persistent our talk of radically changing the inherited educational structure, there is no prospect whatsoever of any real transformation being effected by the ruling political and cultural elite. In fact, it is strange and depressing to find that behind the scene all political parties in India reveal an ominous unanimity with regard to this negative conservatism in educational theory, policy and practice.

If any effort towards the regeneration of Man’s experience, imagination and intellect is to be made, it has to begin and continue outside and independently of the present educational, political and cultural establishments. The universities are dead today. . . . The worship of the dead that rules our academic establishments today is closely allied to the neo-colonial politics that dominates our country, and naturally draws its strength and prestige from the State and the political parties. And yet we hope and pray that there will arise an intellectual group, particularly from among the youth, that will slowly and steadily become deeply aware of our wretchedness as a people and the necessity of a dignified and courageous response to it. The School proposed here is a form of this hope and prayer. Perhaps it would assist in the birth of such a group. It is a big need today.”

Workshop details:

Venue: SIDH campus at Kempty near Mussoorie (See the video below for the campus tour)
Dates: 2nd November, 2022 (arrival by evening) to 6th November, 2022 (Departure after lunch).
Contact: arun@sidhsri.org (Write to me if you want to know more or to register)

The Original Mind and the Ordinary Rational Mind

During 1st to 4th September, 2022, a workshop was held at the Songtsen library, Dehradun on the Original Mind and the Ordinary Rational Mind. The workshop attended by some 40 participants and organized by SIDH was chaired by the Venerable Samdhong Rinpoche. The following are the main points made by Rinpocheji in his opening address.

– The parampara of dharm and darshan appears to have started in Bharat 9000-10000 years ago. In our post-modern civilization today people have practically stopped paying attention to these darshans.
– 100 years ago Gandhiji made his views about modern ‘civilization’ very clear in ‘Hind Swaraj’. People say that it is a very simple book but if we read it a 100 times, we will get some new insight every time.
– Modern civilization has spread all across the world and because it is based on competition and not cooperation its results are also destructive.
– The world is increasingly becoming toxic for all creatures. 50 years ago the scientists agreed that there was a problem but claimed that science would soon discover solutions. Since the last 10-15 years they are saying that they have no solutions.

– This is the context in which we have to examine the difference between the Original Mind (maulik manas) and the Ordinary Rational Mind (saadharan taarkik manas). All the ills of the world have probably been brought about because of the Ordinary Rational Mind and the progressive weakening of the Original Mind.

– The basic teaching of the Buddha says: as the mind is, so will the consequences be. In ancient Indian languages mind has been variously called Buddhi, Chitta, Mati, Man, Manas, Vigyan, Gyan etc.
– Two broad divisions pratyaksh (perceiving mind that connects directly with its object) and parikalpit (conceiving mind that connects with the image of its object) are used for mind.

– A modern, educated, conditioned mind thinks that it knows things through a logical process but is actually only blindly believing what it is being told by authority figures (such and such famous scientist has said it so it must be true). This belief stops all further examination of what is being told. This is what we are calling the Ordinary Rational Mind. Another way of saying this is that the Ordinary Rational Mind is not aware of the numerous external interference that stop it from knowing things properly. A trait of this kind of mind is that it looks for quick answers to questions and is ready to believe the answers without examination.

– The Original Mind is one that is either:
a. Not affected by the numerous external interference (which is nearly impossible).
Or
b. Is one that is aware of the interference and the effect that these interference has on it.
– J Krishnamurti used to ask people to stay with the question. This, not looking for quick answers, is a trait of the Original Mind.

– The science of the mind is a vast topic in the Parampara and it is difficult to speak about it in a few days. In the Tibetan Buddhist literature there are 108 huge books in original Tibetan and 220 huge books of translations of Indian texts, i.e. some 328 huge books with some 5800 sutras. For three years a group of scholars has been going through them and trying to extract the knowledge related to the science of mind.

The full video is linked below:

Hinduism in Contemporary India

This week’s post has some excerpts from a very interesting book ‘Hinduism in contemporary India’ by A.K. Saran.

Excerpt 1:

“One, a sacred or traditional society, say, the Hindu society, cannot be understood in a non-traditional frame of reference; and, two, the sacred and the secular are not two types of social systems in some order of succession or co-existence. Even more mistaken is the view that the sacred-secular or the traditional-modern represents a kind of continuum. In truth, the sacred (the traditional) constitutes and affirms, while the secular (the modern), insofar as it denies the Sacred or the Tradition, undermines and denies society.”
From the chapter titled ‘Religion and Society: The Hindu View’

Excerpt 2:

“Hinduism’s starting point is neither God nor the Creation (the universe, the world). It is the simple but inexhaustible question: Who am I?… The question is possible only from a plane on which knowledge and life, theory and practice, thought and action, form a unity. Hinduism does not require anyone to ask this question, but if I do ask it and it makes sense to me, I am bound to go on asking it until I find the answer or fail to find one; it is, however, not a question which I can drop at any time of my life. An analysis of this question will lead us into practically all the essential principles of society.”
From the chapter titled ‘Religion and Society: The Hindu View’

Excerpt 3:

“It is in Gandhi that we find the most uncompromising Indian opponent of modern technological society. This is of crucial importance in the present context; for the core of values of the Indian tradition cannot survive in a technology-centred society. Gandhi realized this with unfaltering clarity. This is vastly more important than his attempts to reform and modernize many aspects of the surviving Hindu orthodoxy. For he was not only against the domination of modern technology; he was also, and equally vehemently, opposed to consumption-centred competitive society. It should not be difficult for anyone to see that if his vision of a village-centred, aparigraha-minded society had been realized, or were to be realized, this would be nothing less than the restoration of the traditional values; for in traditional thought there is no room for revivalism, no going back to the past—the tradition can be only renewed through the reaffirmation of first principles, and not through any resuscitation of old institutional forms. Soon after its independence, India repudiated Gandhi completely and formally.”
From the chapter titled ‘British Rule and the Indian Value-System’

Excerpt 4:

“Today there is no living Hindu society in India. The process of decay of Hindu society and religion, which must be distinguished from Hindu spirituality, began very long ago. It reached a decisive phase during India’s encounter with Islam and continued in a different form throughout the comparatively brief but radically significant period of British rule. It has taken another form in Independent India. So far, I, for one, have seen no signs of a genuine renewal. And the future is dark; more so because our vision is obscured by a false light.”
From the chapter titled ‘The Crisis of Hinduism’

I am still processing the insights that this book opened up for me. I will probably read it through once more. If you found the excerpts interesting, you can buy the book here. There is also an interesting YouTube video about Saran saab’s work here.

On wisdom

The following excerpts from two ancient foreign texts talk about wisdom.

Excerpt 1:

“The man of character lives at home without exercising his mind and performs actions without worry. The notions of right and wrong and the praise and blame of others do not disturb him. When within the four seas all people can enjoy themselves that is happiness for him. When all people are well provided, that is peace for him. Sorrowful in countenance, he looks like a baby that has lost its mother. Appearing stupid, he goes about like one who has lost his way. He has plenty of money to spend and does not know where it comes from. He drinks and eats just enough and does not know where the food comes from. This is the demeanour of the man of character.

The hypocrites are those people who regard as good whatever the world acclaims as good and regard as right whatever the world acclaims as right. When you tell them that they are men of dao then their countenances change with satisfaction. When you call them hypocrites they may look displeased. All their life they call themselves men of dao and all their lives they remain hypocrites. They know how to make a good speech and tell appropriate anecdotes in order to attract the crowd. But from the very beginning to the very end they do not know what it is all about. They put on the proper garb and dress in the proper colours and put up a decorous appearance to make themselves popular but refuse to admit that they are hypocrites.”
– Chuang Tzu, On the behaviour of the high form of man, as narrated by Alan Watts in one of his talks

Excerpt 2:

“Characteristics of the rational soul:
Self-perception, self-examination, and the power to make of itself whatever it wants.

It reaps its own harvest, unlike plants (and, in a different way, animals) whose yield is gathered in by others.

It reaches its intended goal, no matter where the limit of its life is set. Not like dancing and theater and things like that, where the performance is incomplete if it’s broken off in the middle, but at any point – no matter which one you pick – it has fulfilled its mission, done its work completely. So that it can say, “I have what I came for.”

It surveys the world and the empty space around it, and the way it’s put together. It delves into the endlessness of time to extend its grasp and comprehension of the periodic births and and rebirths that the world goes through. It knows that those who come after us will see nothing different, that those who came before us saw no more than we do, and that anyone with forty years behind him and eyes in his head has seen both past and future – both alike.

Also characteristics of the rational soul:
Affection for its neighbors, Truthfulness. Humility. Not to place anything above itself – which is characteristic of law as well. No difference here between the logos of rationality and that of justice.”
– Marcus Aurelius, Book 11 of ‘Meditations’, translated by Gregory Hays

A zero waste life – Part 2

(This is the transcript of a talk given by my wife Kanti in 2018. Part 1 of this post is available here.)

Four and a half years ago we shifted to a village in Kerala. This was my in-laws hometown. We had about three-fourths of an acre with a pond, house and well all to ourselves to do our experiments with sustainable living. We began by planting around 25 trees native to that region i.e. the Western Ghats and 10 fruit trees. We tried to remove the existing arecanut plantation there slowly, a few trees at a time. I let the new saplings adapt to the weather changes with minimal external watering. We never used a pipe to water the plants; that way we had a clear idea how much water was needed. Now these young trees have survived 2 summers without watering. Simultaneously, I started an experiment for rejuvenating soil and arresting water runoff during monsoons. For this I collected dried leaves from everywhere and spread them over exposed soil. The whole place looks wild, untidy and overgrown, but after 4 years I can see changes in the soil structure. The pond in front of the house is a thriving ecosystem, complete with plants, fish, turtle and snake. It was also our own private pool where we and our visiting guests spent many enjoyable days. This pond, like the well, also reflected the changing water table: every approaching summer we would observe the lowering water level with concern, every monsoon we would watch the rising level with relief.

Now, in this area, there is no municipal water supply, sewage or garbage collection system. Every household has an open well, its own septic tank and garbage disposal happens by burning. For drinking and bathing etc. we pumped water from the well into an overhead tank and all the waste water, except from the toilets, was let out directly onto the soil. For this reason, I stopped buying dish washing soap and liquid, detergent powder, toilet cleaner, shampoo, bathing soap. We used mild handmade bath soap for bathing; ash/ baking soda/ lemon peel/ tamarind/ ritha/ shikakai for utensils, shikakai/ ritha for clothes and hair, baking soda/ vinegar for toilets. Wet waste from the kitchen was thrown on top of the soil near the plants. Since every monsoon the septic tank gets flooded, we tried using a composting toilet as well. Contrary to expectation, I think, a composting toilet is very clean.

To avoid burning of trash, I stopped using sanitary napkins, buying packaged foods/ snacks/ provisions, milk/ curd. We had to manage in half litre of milk everyday from a cow nearby. We carried our own bags and containers to the shops to buy things or got them wrapped in paper packets. I started making bread, jam, snacks, pickles at home. I tried to buy those things only which after use could be thrown outside to decompose naturally or which would be acceptable to the local kabaadi wallahs. The items under our self imposed sanctions were: batteries, CFL tube lights, incandescent bulbs, glass items. To optimise fuel we tried using solar cooker, rocket stove, hay box.

I learnt a lot about cashew, pepper and turmeric processing. In fact, four years I grew turmeric and did the whole cycle of planting, harvesting, curing, drying and polishing myself. I burnt my face and hands during cashew extraction. Banana, pineapple, pepper, coconut, mango, jackfruit, tamarind have always been there and gave us fruit according to season. In season we used to get so much that I was forced to learn how to preserve them. I also learnt how to make coconut oil, arrowroot powder. Although nothing serious came out of it, I did try growing ginger, tapioca, arrowroot, yam, colocaecia, chillies, sweet potato, tomatoes, brinjal, gourds, onions, garlic, potatoes, capsicum.

The Kerala story was educative and rewarding but also very frustrating. We moved back to Bangalore ten months ago for various reasons but have kept the option of going back open. Here, in our current home, out of habit I have started composting my kitchen waste in the Daily Dump Khamba composter. Other waste I segregate into paper, cardboard, plastic wrappers, plastic bottles, hard plastic items, milk covers, e-waste. These I give to the garbage van person so that he does not have to sort through the big rubbish heap.

In the middle of all this, our daughter has finished college and has started working. Our elder son is in college in Hyderabad and our youngest is going to give his XIIth board next year. So life goes on. Zero waste is not possible in this world. Even with our strict rules, while in Kerala and now in Bangalore, we do indulge and that unfortunately generates waste. But we are careful and always aware of the consequences. Its not about sustainability and zero waste. Its about finding our purpose in life and fulfilling it.

A zero waste life – Part 1

(This is the transcript of a talk given by my wife Kanti in 2018. Hope you all like the story she is telling here.)

All our friends and relatives have heard our story, usually in parts and in the middle of random conversations. For the first time, I have the opportunity to organize my thoughts and document our journey in a coherent manner. What has this got to do with zero waste? Waste is a by product of life. If this waste is becoming unmanageable, it means we have to look at the way we live.

Its been almost 25 eventful years and the only thing constant in our lives has been change. Both my husband Arun and I stand on the shoulders of our parents and are extremely privileged to be able to experiment so freely- whether it is our children, jobs or lifestyle. We have been called brave, stupid, myopic. But the fact is, by some chance, call it karma, we are in the unique position of doing whatever comes into our heads.

Our unconventional lifestyle began with an interest in spirituality. We studied, Arun more than I, a whole lot of Eastern and Western philosophies and agreed upon a common map to help navigate our lives. We learnt that we must first begin with self transformation and our field of action should be the family. To achieve this all the prescribed tools were already available. We started yoga, pranayama, meditation. Because we felt that school was a big drain on our time and mind-space, we took our children out of school.

From the beginning we were very clear that one of us had to be with the children. I chose to stay at home and Arun reluctantly had to work. He has always chosen jobs with care so that the pay is never too demanding on his freedom and for sometime now he has been working from home. This means that we live pretty much hand to mouth with no savings. We also have no insurance, no house, no car/scooter, no TV or AC or newspaper. But we have invested in 3 good cycles and sensible walking sandals. We have always lived like nomads. Shifted houses and cities when we felt like it. Because of this we have optimised on our furniture, kitchen, clothes and we don’t collect knick-knacks. We all like to travel but we don’t do much sight seeing. We attend many family functions and always prefer to do long distances by train. Exploring outdoor food options is our favorite pastime. In spite of that I spend a lot of time in the kitchen because I really do enjoy making stuff. We are fortunate to be blessed with good health and have not needed to go to doctors much. Of course, not taking this for granted, we continue our exercise and pranayama routine regularly. I’d like to share this anecdote here, with apologies to all my doctor friends: A man goes to a doctor, gets a prescription, goes to the chemist, buys the medicine, then comes home and throws the medicine in the dustbin. Why you ask? The man says, he goes to the doctor and chemist so that they may live by their professions, he throws the medicine so that he may live too!

(The concluding part of this talk will be published here next week)

The value of higher education

I am just back from a trip to IIT Kharagpur, the institute where I got my engineering degree 34 years ago. With its 2100 acre tree-filled campus, 40+ departments, 15000 students and 800 faculty members, IIT Kharagpur is the largest IIT in India. Like everyone who passes through residential colleges, the time I spent on campus getting my degree was one of the best times of my life. I gathered many unforgettable memories and some close friends. Given this background, I would like to talk about why I felt a little unsettled by my trip.

The institute’s 72nd foundation day celebations were going on and there were many special guests and alumni on campus. We were all taken care of really well and the institute’s hospitality was regal. I felt deeply grateful for this and for the chance to walk around in the beautiful campus. The unsettling feeling came on when I saw the flood of boys and girls cycling to and from their classes, and I suddenly felt that most of them were just barely tolerating being there, were looking at the institute as an uncomfortable but necessary interlude on their way to the larger world outside. A professor told me that the situation was unique because of the Covid lockdown, even the fourth year students were like freshers, and whatever campus culture existed before Covid was probably irrecoverably lost.

I also sat through the foundation day function and heard the dignitaries talk about the great work done at IIT Kharagpur and about its aspiration to be among the top 10 colleges of the world. I found all this a little difficult to process. Consider the following:

a. The path to become a top institute. (spending lots of money, diversification, famous alumni etc.)
b. Students wanting a high paying job to live the ‘good’ life.
c. The main institute building in a large lighted sign saying ‘Dedicated to the service of the nation’. And the institute website saying the ‘Vision’ is ‘To improve the life of every citizen of the country’.

I felt that it is time to ask some basic questions about the value that the IITs bring to the people of our nation and the investment that these people have to make to get that value. Like I said, I felt a little unsettled by my trip.

School reforms: The way forward

In these series of posts (part 1 and part 2 here), we have talked about problems with the modern schooling system and have tried to look at the paradigm of modernity inside which the system functions. In this final post in the series, we will try to talk about a tentative way forward with school education.

First we need to talk a little bit more about modernity. If we look at nations, what we understand by the word ‘development’ is material progress. In this talk of development there is no talk of human well-being. For example, Finland, a developed nation with the world’s best education system also has 50% of its families having no children and 12% of its families being a single parent household. In other words, a major breakdown of its family structure. This seems to be where the materialistic paradigm takes us when applied efficiently. People need food, clothing, shelter but beyond a certain minimum, materialistic possessions do not seem to increase or ensure well-being. Living within the materialistic paradigm, this does not seem to be obvious to most people. In modernity, at the level of individual, family or society, well-being is falsely equated with material possessions and success/ failure are decided on measurable materialistic parameters.

The paradigm of modernity is western in origin and in India we seem to have only half-heartedly adopted it (65% of our children fail the education system). Our traditional paradigm can be called the paradigm of the sanaatan, the eternal paradigm based on the way the universe IS. If we use the word Truth to mean something that is unchanging across time and space, we can also call the sanaatan the paradigm of Truth. Well-being (happiness, health, harmony etc.) is at the very heart of this paradigm.

Whatever we try at an individual level, at the societal level it is not possible to shift paradigms in any planned manner. Paradigm changes happen slowly and over several human lifetimes. So, what can we do about the education system beyond the literacy and numeracy that all schools seem to manage without too much trouble? Since this is a short post, let me list out the kinds of things that can be involved in a new kind of education. These could be:
– Understanding the paradigm of modernity and the paradigm of the sanaatan.
– Teaching based on the sanaatan or on the way things ARE.
– Understanding how perception works and the transitory nature of what contaminates it.
– Using the dhyaaanakarshan vidhi to draw the attention of the students towards the Truth so that it can be revealed to them.
– Focusing on developing the student’s power of discrimination (Viveka) through logic.
– Focusing on effective communication.
– Understanding basic distinctions like
—– Truth and opinion/ idea/ fact/ ideology etc.
—– Meaning and word
—– Being and doing
—– Quality and quantity etc.

The list above is only indicative. It needs to be expanded and fine-tuned in the environment of a school willing to experiment with this philosophy. If you are interested, you can get in touch with me at arun@sidhsri.org to take the conversation forward. Namaste!

School reforms: Systems and Paradigm

In last week’s blog post (linked here), we looked at some problems with the current education system and why it seems so difficult to effect any school reform. This week let us zoom out a little and look at the broader perspective, at the paradigm inside which the modern education system is situated. We can start by defining the term ‘paradigm’ in the way we are using it here.

Gandhiji in ‘Hind Swaraj’ (download from here) deconstructs five systems of modernity. These are the governance, technological, judicial, medical and education systems. (If you haven’t read this short document, you should. You may not agree with everything it says, but if you read it with an open mind, you will be forced to question many of your assumptions about how the modern world works) Gandhiji tries to show how the systems that he discusses in the book are all working to enslave and control us and, contrary to what is claimed, all these systems reduce human well-being.

In the paragraph above, ‘modernity’ is what we are calling a ‘paradigm’. ‘Modernity’ is not being used as a term for what is ‘modern’ or ‘new’ as opposed to ‘ancient’. The paradigm of ‘Modernity’ is something like a social operating system. Just like all the programs running on a computer have to work within the limits and rules set by the computer’s operating system, the systems running in society are limited by the values that are inherent in the paradigm. It is possible to have multiple paradigms running across the world simultaneously but today there is only one dominant paradigm—of ‘Modernity’—that is behind all the systems that we are part of. We can also understand it as primarily a materialistic paradigm. Important examples of the values inherent in the paradigm of modernity are:

Freedom – Living according to individual wishes and desires.

Rights – The right of everyone to have individual freedom.

Equality – Every individual has the right to freedom. This is equality in the external, tangible, gati domain and not equality in the sthiti domain.

It is easy to see that the values listed above are not rooted in reality. For example, ‘all human beings have the capacity to swim (barring those who are physically disabled)’ is a statement of reality. ‘All human beings have the capacity to fly’ is a figment of the imagination. Freedom, rights and equality as defined under the paradigm of modernity fall under the second category. An example – If my desire is to play with and feed street dogs and my neighbour’s desire is to banish their nuisance from the neighbourhood, both desires cannot be met simultaneously. Freedom to do what I want at all times is an imaginary value. We find difficulty in questioning these imaginary values because the paradigm is continuously brainwashing us using its systems of governance, media, education etc.

Which brings us to the system of education set inside the paradigm of modernity all across the world. The education system today, based around comparison and competition, is aligned with the imaginary values of modernity. Once we see this, it becomes possible to talk about school reforms that are not cosmetic and actually work to help the learners and society at large. We will talk more about it next week.

School reforms: The problem statement

When well-meaning people start questioning the way current school education works, they run into a fundamental problem. You see, our entire experience of education is from within this deeply flawed system. So when we try to think of making things better, we are unconsciously trapped within the limits of the existing system. A little bit like a person in a jail cell trying to move towards freedom by painting the bars of his prison sky-blue. Sounds like an exaggeration? Let us go a little deeper and see.

We can start by listing out some of the features of modern mass schooling:

– It covers 12+ years of childhood, mostly sitting quietly inside classrooms with 40 other children (all wearing school uniforms).
– Teachers who have very little interest in education or in children and are there because they couldn’t get another job, spend most of their time in classroom management (which means ensuring silence and discipline in the classroom).
– The 12-year academic curriculum starts with learning the alphabet and basic maths and ends in ridiculous things like organic chemistry and integral calculus.
– Academic achievement and conformity are rewarded and the children who do not see the point of the nonsense that passes for academics or are spirited enough to rebel against the system are labelled ‘failures’ and thrown out.
– With its uniforms, discipline and pointless hard work, it is like a jail which lets its inmates out on parole every evening on condition that they come back the next morning.

When sensitive people feel the problem and think of doing a better job, these are the kinds of things they typically try (and the flip-sides to their solutions):

Well-meaning attemptFlip-side
Having teachers who actually care for children and could have actually got other jobs but chose to become teachers for some misguided reason.Having confused well-meaning teachers is not better than having confused apathetic teachers. Sometimes healthy neglect is the only way for children to navigate through a toxic system without permanent damage.
Having fewer children in the jail-cell-classrooms so that the teacher can pay individual attention.This leads to the immediate discovery of the spirited children and their ‘normalisation’. It is easy to hide in a 40 child classroom and difficult in a 10 child one. Also as mentioned above, individual attention from a confused teacher may not be a very good thing.
Letting the children have a lot of ‘freedom’ in a ‘non-stress’ environment.Since life does not give us simple ‘freedom’/’discipline’ type of choices and because the people who are trying to make things better are reacting to ‘discipline’, which they think of as a problem of mainstream education, they tend to lean towards too much ‘freedom’. This invariably has bad effects on the children on whom it is inflicted. Too much ‘freedom’ is probably worse than too much ‘discipline’.

We can make this list longer, but I hope you see what I trying to say. There is no way to improve or repair a faulty system by thinking within its boundaries and tweaking things inside it. So, what can we do? The first obvious step is to break free from our conditioning that assumes that the current type of education is the only option possible. If we are able to do that, some avenues may open up, we may be able to ask questions about what a good education, one that is appropriate for our country and its people, can look like. I plan to explore some of these ideas in the posts next week and the week after that.

(Disclaimer: There may be readers who do not find organic chemistry or integral calculus ridiculous as part of a mass schooling curriculum. I was one of them! But instead of making fun of my weirdness, the system actually rewarded me by making me think that I am better than others. It has taken me a very long time to break out of that.)