We need discovery more than education

The education system around the world is not just broken, its concept is broken. It is trying to teach us something. Its not making any effort to discover us. On top of that, its not letting us discover ourselves.

Education is trying to tell us things about the world. How it works, what makes it tick. What role could we play in it. Its trying to build a mould for us. Without ever looking at what’s going to go inside that mould. Yes, the system is broken, as it is producing mismatched moulds.

Most humans currently spend their entire lives without ever knowing much about themselves. We learn a skill, earn a living and die. Sometimes things click, and people find their true passion. That mostly happens by accident, or if the parents make a special effort to expose their kids to a lot of different skills, sports, topics and creative endeavours.

Some people just find great teachers (or parents), and get curious about what their passionate teacher is teaching. The passion is so strong that it just permeates into the students’ minds. That happens rarely.

Prodigies, geniuses and the like, those of us who are outstanding right from the beginning, seem to know what they want to do. Mostly because their inner desire to do something is stronger, their minds are clearer. But most of us? The rest of us? We tend to dilly dally towards one thing or the other. Because we try to fit into pre-built moulds. We never realise that it is not a one-size-fits-all. Every one is different, unique in their abilities and their potential. We just don’t get a chance to see our inner selves. The result? Mismatches everywhere.

What can we do? What can the average person do to discover herself? Try a dozen things? Work at 4 different jobs? Do a half dozen degrees? It seems like this is the biggest dilemma of our lives.

Why then, does the education system make no effort to help us discover ourselves? Why does education have to be only about knowledge and skill? I guess we all need to earn a living. Fair call.

But if we cannot change the current education system, then perhaps we could build a parallel Discovery System. A system that could learn about us, instead of teaching us. In this system, we shouldn’t be surprised to see a 5th grader explore Philosophy or Psychology, as he tries to build the foundations of his self. He might be attempting to learn how his body reacts to different scenarios, his emotions, his hormones and his mindset.

In other words, the Discovery System would help us discover ourselves, control ourselves, build our foundations and principles and help us build our mental models.

With an education, we hope we’ll become a balanced, self-aware and useful member of the society. But the education system only teaches us to be useful, hoping that we’ll acquire the other two properties simply as a by-product of learning language, math, science and the arts.

With self-discovery, we can focus on building a balanced and self-aware member of the society.