Does education undermine the authenticity of the student?

Bobby asked:

Does education undermine the authenticity of students and thus undermine the concept of a free will?

Answer by Jürgen Lawrenz

Your question has three prejudices for which you give neither an explanation nor a definition.

Therefore the question cannot be answered.

Prejudice No. 1 is education. Unless you say what it is and what it’s for, I can’t answer except that I give you my explanation and definition. Which is not altogether fair, because you are asking a question for which you seem to want a clear answer that involves also the question of values.

Independently of the other two issues: Education is a means by which the human young creature is equipped with knowledge and skills that are necessary for survival. The people who do this are parents, school teachers, instructors at work and others. They are people who have also been taught, and additionally gained some experience that enables them to judge what is good and bad in the context of surviving. If you picture for yourself a small human society in the desert, or the jungle, or on the North Pole, you can see at once that without education the young child would miss out on essential know-how. The child would have self-educate and this is almost impossible because the dangers of ignorance in such an environment are likely to be fatal very quickly.

In advanced societies, education is additionally concerned with giving the child an education to enable it to live among other people, so behaviour is part of it, as well as technology, institutions, politics etc.

No need to go on. The need for education, however you define it, is indispensable for a human being that is new to the world.

The second prejudice, the authenticity of the student, I do not understand. I have not the faintest idea what it means. But I suspect there is no such thing, because no human being is formed without absorbing some influences from his or her social environment. So an ‘authentic student’ is a self-contradictory assumption.

The third prejudice, free will, is also impossible without looking at a social environment. You cannot have free will without an education that helps you with identifying what other people mean by free will. So the idea of education impairing free will sounds like nonsense to me.

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