Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Dangers of Education

 A story was collected in the 19th century called "The Pooka" by E.W. The story of the Pooka is interesting to be sure, but it is the beginning of this tale that interests me where the story teller decries the "school master" or rather education as having ruined the folk beliefs of old.

 He writes :

"Now that "the schoolmaster is abroad," there can be no question that the warm sun of education will, in the course of a very few years, dissipate those vapours of superstition, whose wild and shadowy forms have from time immemorial thrown a mysterious mantle around our mountain summits, shed a darker horror through our deepest glens, traced some legendary tale on each unchiselled column of stone that rises on our bleakest hills, and peopled the green border of the wizard stream and sainted well with beings of a spiritual world."

 Should we indulge such nonsense? Isn't it good that in this day and age, the age of science and progress that we should leave behind notions of a spiritual world? A world infused with a hidden world? 

 Of course the person of science sees no limitations to his ability to achieve a breakthrough discovery. Nothing to stop him from meddling in things he ought not. After all, the world is just made up of cells and bits of matter. Nothing to worry about. 

 But of course, in contrast, the spiritual world does not offer us this freedom. We see warnings all around us. Don't do this, or this will happen. In a spiritual world, one proceeds with caution not wishing to bring anything bad upon themselves or anyone else. 

 I think of course a major reasons why I enjoy the old tales and the old belief is that it gives me a sense of wonder and curiosity. Not a curiosity that says "I need to know" like the scientist, but a sense that says "I'm content to continue wondering about this". 

 An interesting thing to ponder. A friend of mine recently said: 

 "I think superstition is a beautiful thing for the ignorant, but not necessarily true, and perhaps problematic for the sober-minded." 

 I answered : 

 "Who decides which is ignorant and which is sober-minded."


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