Wisdom finds truth
Syed Mustafa Ahmad
It is a universally accepted truth that wisdom is an asset. In religions, the need of wisdom is highly stressed upon. Wisdom is a way to find truth. In this perspective, a 13-year- old young environmentalist has awakened the world to the hollow promises on environment protection by world leaders.
Greta Thunberg, a teenage girl from Sweden, has reflected exemplary courage and has also fulfilled the responsibility of the young generation to make our leaders accountable for their actions. She has highlighted very basic yet fundamental flaws in policy making.
A voice that everyone resonates with, specially the young generation. It is indeed commendable that environmental degradation has become the center of our talks. It is an example of wisdom that is awakening us from deep slumber. Let us try to know more about it.
Wisdom is a quality of human personality defined as having experience, knowledge and good judgment to take correct actions. More often, it is said that wisdom can be acquired through experience but experience itself doesn’t automatically confer wisdom. It would be appropriate to quote Greta here. Many such examples exist in our past as well like Swami Vivekananda, reformist Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Subhash Chandra Bose. All of them had something in common: they were well- read, educated, curious enough to seek answers and bold enough to oppose anything wrong.
Wisdom is vital because it pierces through the veils of ignorance, confusion and illusion leading to radiant light of truth. Therefore, it is all the more important to make our citizens informed enough so that they can take right decision. The pre- requirement of all this stems down to providing quality education which is holistic in nature. Rabindranath Tagore said, “The really educated person is that who is free from all biases and possesses the ability to distinguish between ethical and unethical conduct.”
Looking into the education sector often reveals some glaring structural problems which impact the quality of knowledge that our students carry. Starting from poor quality of teachers and obsolete thinking methods to make education a mere rat race with hyper competition. Enforcement of discipline in strict terms kills the curiosity of a child and the pass- fail system focuses more on marks rather than knowledge or wisdom. These issues extend from the basic elementary level right up to college where critical and independent thinking has never emerged.
In order to escape this brain trap and inculcate our young generation with knowledge ultimately leading to wisdom, it is important to make learning joyful and wholesome. Involving students in the decision making process and being sensitive to their needs holds key. Furthermore, India has achieved 90% enrolment at elementary level, the focus must shift from quantity to quality. Sports, art and culture, fieldwork, etc., will help the students get and retain the information in a more meaningful way. They will be in a position to know the real objective of learning. They will learn for ever if an environment of independent and critical thinking is created. It will act as a catalyst in gaining wisdom.
Sports teaches a person skills which gives a responsibility to promote a coordinating and participating approach leading to installation of democratic values. Furthermore, wining and losing is part of the game and thereby teaches us to accept things and constantly improve to make things better.
It also leads to mutual respect for either side. Another aspect of involving students through art, culture and creating work will break the monotony of mere fact mugging requirement leading to recognition and exercise of freedom of expression. Giving students an opportunity to express themselves will bring out original and independent thinking.
It will not only act as a stress-buster but will also help students to adopt soft skills as measures. These can be really effective in countering the suicidal tendencies that students often suffer from. In the long run, the students will know the real objective of nature. Why are we here? What is our destiny? Why do the days and the nights come and go? Why is this universe as it is? Why do people take birth? Why do we have difference in everything? These things are wisdom. To know one’s value is the hallmark of wisdom.
Further, the students should be given a tint of practical aspect of what they are learning. The value and urge of learning will increase more if they realize the above-mentioned things. It will make a situation where the happiness and the sadness will not leave any kind of impact on a student because the reality is before his or her eyes. Everything happens according to a plan and we are the part and parcel of that very plan. The uncertainties of life will provide us an opportunity to ponder over things and ultimately lead to wisdom.
In a nutshell, we can say that without wisdom, a person is like an animal. He or she doesn’t know his or her worth. He or she doesn’t know the real objective of the large Universe. According to such person, the whole universe is not a mystery to be pondered over.
In front of his or her eyes, the Sun, the Sky, the Moon, the Earth, the tallest mountains, the difference among people, the change of seasons, the alteration of day and night, the cycle of birth and death, the growth of different crops in different seasons, the blowing of winds, the smell of flowers, the diversity among animals, etc., mean nothing. This person shuts eyes and is lost in his or her own illusive world. When the consciousness of knowing arises in him or her, he or she embarks on the path of knowing and that is called wisdom. So, it is up to a person to reflect. Looking at yourselves and find out the reality is the shortest way to know wisdom. Overall, a person is a mini- Universe. Now, the ball is in our court to look out for wisdom.
(The author is a teacher. He can be reached at [email protected])