Education is defined here as being the effects of the influence of authority figures (people or idols we look up to) as we grow up.
Personality and character are two different things, with the basic assumption that education can only forge personality and cannot change character traits — unless the education process is traumatic, in which case it could alter it and lead to a variety of consequences (explained by Dr. Burke here).
There’s a notion that the values we transmit are a form of expression of our own character traits, and the method of transmission is a form of expression of our own personality.
How to still be smart learners
The ideal learner journey would be to develop our personality in accordance to our belief system, making the best of our character traits all the while gathering the right tools to integrate society.
Accomplish that and you are ready to be an educator that will help others accomplish that too. Although this seems like a life-long learner journey, there are ways to get closer to this ideal as of now.
Let’s start with identifying and understanding who we are and how we differ from the education received, and then choosing what to keep and what to let go of. In other words, becoming smarter learners. Smarter learners who emancipate when needed to develop according to their true self.
Once a smarter learner, there are ways to practice habits so as to truly live up to this ideal.
Think back to when you were little. You could even ask your elders; what was I like? To what did I resist the most? Find out what your underlying character traits are. What were your embedded moral beliefs and values back when you were uninhibited?
If you’re able to gather that data, it’s a plus. If not, you can just get to the next step: the introspective ride. I know it sounds abstract but don’t turn away yet.
The ride is simply analyzing yourself for a minute. Does anything make you emotional? Cry? Frustrated? Angry? What are those things? Make the list. Some of you will say nothing makes you feel emotional. You’re probably not aware, or you’re looking for the wrong manifestation. It doesn’t need to be crying or screaming emotions, it could be a slight feeling of disgust. Asking your entourage could help make the list too.
Now let’s go deeper by asking “why” repeatedly.
For example, Tom tears up when he sees people save animals in distress. Why? Because it makes him happy. Why? Because he sees someone care for “someone” else. Why does that make him happy? Because caring is total selflessness. Why does that make Tom happy? Because selflessness is part of who he is deep down, and that resonates with him. Bingo! Got one here: altruism is one of Tom’s core values.
Be careful not to mistake with traumas, “I get really scared of bees because I’ve been stung” is not a belief or a value.
Once you’ve got your list of values (which you’ll probably rethink and change as you travel introspectively), you can also find the areas that differ from what you’ve been taught.
How to know what to keep and what to let go of
Keep what resonates with your core values, but don’t let go of everything else.
To integrate society and the “system” we live in, we do need to be properly equipped. This equipment is made up of tools that are also taught through education. Agreed, some of it is good and some of it is toxic.
How do we know when it’s useful and when it’s not?
Let’s explore next time! Ideas? Comments? Anything you can teach us about your way to know what to keep or reject?