How does school kill human curiosity

Peter Bieri: "Education begins with curiosity"


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Education is something that people do with themselves and for themselves: they educate yourself . Others can train us, but everyone can only train themselves. We go through training with the aim of achieving something can . When we educate ourselves against it, we work to achieve something become - we strive to be in the world in a certain way.

Education starts with curiosity. You kill someone's curiosity and you take away their chance to educate themselves. Curiosity is the desire to find out what there is in the world. It can go in completely different directions: up to the stars and down to the atoms; out to the diversity of natural species and into the fantastic complexity of a human organism; back to the history of space, earth and human society and forward to the question of how things could go on with our planet, our forms of life and self-images. It's always about two things: to know What is the case and understand Why it is the case. Education in this sense is world orientation.

To be educated also means to be familiar with the question of what knowledge and understanding consist of and how far they go: What evidence do I have for my convictions? How reliable are the principles that go from the evidence to the claims that go beyond them? What are good arguments, what is deceptive sophistry? What forms of understanding are there and what are their typical obstacles? It's about differentiating between mere rhetorical facades and real thoughts. Two questions guide us: "What exactly does that mean?" And: "How do we know that it is so?" What these questions give us is intellectual independence. It defines education in terms of enlightenment.

Education includes insight into the historical randomness of the way we think, feel, talk and live: everything could have turned out differently. This awareness is expressed in the ability to view one's own culture from a certain distance and to move away from the naive and arrogant thought that one's own way of life is superior to the others and more appropriate to an alleged human being than any other. Such presumption is an unmistakable sign of illiteracy.

Understanding a culture means understanding the notions of moral integrity that prevail there. We grow up with certain moral commands and prohibitions, we learn them at home, on the street, through the films and books that shape us. At first we make it absolute, we do not learn it as one possibility among others. The educational process consists in realizing that in other parts of the world and in other societies people think and feel differently about good and bad; that historical contingency clings to our moral identity too. Education breaks with the notion of absoluteness and is therefore subversive and dangerous when it comes to worldview and ideology. Perhaps one could say: only those who know and recognize the historical randomness of their cultural and moral identity have really grown up.