Can education give us happiness?
Nature, the most respected high science research journal of some 200 odd years old is a delightful tool for knowledge. Our Central government has constituted a Knowledge Commission! We are not sure who conceived the idea! Whoever had conceived it,the Commission has a daunting task to provide India and the Indians a source or sources for knowledge or new knowledge.The very search for knowledge through a government Commission sounds very odd!
However, the Nature magazine recently carried a book review of three new books on what constitute happiness! Happiness:lessons from a new science, Making people happy, Happiness:the science behind your smile.
All three have searched for the scientific foundations, starting from psychology to other sciences.The conclusions are not uniform. One obvious finding is that money alone doesn’t make people happy, though everyone in search of happiness usually imagine more money would make people more happy.This is not so.The more richer societies, the Americans and others are found to be highly dissatisfied, positively unhappy with more money, more material possessions. Hence, you see so many highly irrational religious cults invading the American society and the American society is marked by some highly undesirable trends, more prison population, more juvenile crime, more violence and more insecurity and worry!
So,what makes people happy? There are clearly many non-utilitarian concerns, purpose,community, solidarity, truth, justice and beauty. So, the non-material aspirations, the goals of all cultures and literatures and music and spiritual and religious inspirations are sought after by people of different socio-economic and education groups.
It doesn’t mean the more poor countries are where people are happy either! Now, the question arises:can education make people, pupils happy? Is the goal of happiness education or vice versa?
Yes, there is this view:our education should promote happiness,children must be taught to enjoy the everyday lives,the everyday school lives and not just get worked up by tensions of exams and jobs. Unfortunately, now education had eliminated all sources of joys.
Of course all idealist educators sought after this happiness as one of the chief aims of education.Tagore’s Santiniketan and many other experimental schools had sought to liberate the minds of pupils from the mechanised school systems. The movement for deschooling the education system is in fact one of the most noteworthy education movements. So too are other education movements. Aesthetics, music, dances, arts and other very so many cultural activities,theatre etc are part of the Santiniketan curriculum. What is the immediate practical application from this awareness?
Surely, every school worth its name must have a music and dance teachers. Every school worth its name must have tours, visit ancient monuments, historic sites, nature sites and there must be questions from outside the text books. Freedom of the minds is education.This is said easily, but not attained easily. As the scientific researches here show that the very evolution of man, our evolved minds desire for aspiring for higher goals. Our mental process makes us to dream and aspire and compete and conquest. So, we are never fully happy in the sense we are satisfied to sit quietly and enjoy life as such. It is part of a joyful living to aspire for nobler goal; an utopian society free of all evils and disabiltiies and a sense of apiration is part of the explanation for why material progress,money alone is not enough for a happy life. We need the non-material cultural and artistic creations to keep our mind engaged!