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Is it intelligent to live in fear?

I ask this question because it seems to me that many people are studying around the world not because they love learning, but because they are afraid of what will happen if they don’t study. For example, they are afraid they won’t pass their courses and they won’t get high school degrees. Then they won’t be able to get into a university.

Their parents usually believe it is in their children’s best interest to go to a university. They really believe this. It is one of society’s most deeply held beliefs. It is like a new world religious belief.

But I challenge it.

My hypothesis is that the forced education system, combined with the belief that going to a university is good for your children, creates more problems than it solves.

In other words, it makes the world a worse place. It creates a system based on fear. The fear of not getting a university degree is the fear of not getting a job. This fear now permeates society around the world.

But is it intelligent to live like this?

Is it intelligent to live with this kind of pervasive, built in, fear?

Or would it be more intelligent to think about how to change the system so there is less fear of not getting a job? For example, to change it so young people were learning out of the desire to do what they really want to do?

Would it be more intelligent to change it so they could choose when to take exams rather than have exams be the center of their young lives? See
Give hugs, Not exams **

Would it be more intelligent to change it so they could learn independently, from home or from their friend’s house, and thus not be subject to near constant control by government employees, for example? I am talking about the public schools, who are filled with government employees who also are afraid of disobeying too many of the rules imposed on them by the state. Or, if it is a private school, the employees are afraid of breaking too many of the school director or owner’s rules.

As I look at schools in the countries I have visited, I see a lot of fear. That is one reason I ask if it is intelligent to live with so much fear.

I see a lot of parents who are stressed nearly each morning, over getting their child or teen to school on time. But why? Why not change the system to make learning more independent, so no matter what time the student gets there they can pick up where they left off the day before? Or better yet, let them learn via the Internet so they don’t even have to go to schools if they don’t want to?

It is my hope and dream that schools, and the governments around the world, will have less control over the learning process.

It is my hope and dream that learning will become something done more out of desire and less out of fear.

It is my hope and dream that schools will become less places where young people are indoctrinated with whatever cultural, religious and political beliefs held by those in power in their particular niche in the world.

It is my hope and dream students will one day be less “patriotic” and begin to think of a united world, free from violence and wars.

It is my hope and dream they will make friends in other countries and share ideas, and become more intellectually and emotionally independent, yet united.

It is my hope and dream they will question the status quo in their particular cultures and think more of values which are healthy for all of humanity, all the world.

S. Hein
July 9, 2007
Paysandu, Uruguay


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