“To become learned, each day add something. To become enlightened each day drop something” ~ Laozi
Enlightenment is probably abused like most other English words.
Wherever you look, there are gurus, mentors, self-help quacks and fraudsters promising to help you find enlightenment.
They have painted enlightenment as the only way to lasting happiness and fulfillment.
But enlightenment has nothing to do with happiness and fulfillment.
If anything, the pursuit of enlightenment leads to turmoil.
In his classic work, How to Read A Book, Morittmer Adler has this to say about enlightenment…
“To be informed, you only need to know that something is the case. To be enlightened, you need to know what that something is all about: that is, you need to know why is the case, how it is connected to other things, in what ways it is the same with other things, and in what ways it is different from other things.”
Enlightenment sure looks like super hardwork. And it’s not for the weak.
This partly explains why people choose education over enlightenment.
Getting enlightenment is super hard. Getting educated is pretty easy.
To get educated (usually measured by a paper certificate), you soak up information like a sponge. Then regurgitate them in an exam or final test.
To get enlightened, you probe, question and search.
But the best way to know which one between the two you’re currently pursuing, you have to look at how they are measured.
How Is Enlightenment And Education Measured?
The measure of enlightenment is the number of novel ideas, techniques and insights generated from the enlightened person’s constant probing, questioning and searching.
Grades remain the ultimate measure of education, especially in Nigeria.
Many agree grades are a poor measure. But we’re stuck with it for now.
Which Is Better?
I can’t authoritatively say. But from experience I know which one drives civilization forward.
Enlightenment advances. Education accepts.
Enlightenment creates. Education consumes.
Where do I stand on the two?
Enlightenment over education. Enlightenment is not for everybody, though.
Nietzsche’s letter to his sister, Elizabeth, has the best insight on how to choose between education and enlightenment.
“If you want to achieve peace of mind and happiness, have faith. If you want to be a disciple of truth, then search.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche.