Let Us All Dream Of A Great Nation - One World
A country and its culture is a manifestation of the dreams and aspirations of the people that inhabit its boundaries. So understanding a national culture is essentially understanding a national idea.
Unfortunately a national idea is alive and kicking before a country is born. Once the country is formed and stabilized, the idea is lost from the minds of the subsequent generations of citizens.
The one way in which it is preserved is by the education system. Unfortunately this is again done through the medium of one of the least-loved subjects called history. To top it off, it is done in the most boring way of a repetition of what happened centuries ago, rather than as a study of the consequences of the actions of the people that lived then. We are given scores for how best we memorize the past, not how best we understand the lessons from the past. We all know that history repeats itself. Yet we rarely care about learning the lessons from the past.
There is definitely a group of people who do learn from the past, the criminals. No wonder we read about crimes that are planned better, executed better. We know how the system of bribes has been revolutionized using corporate management techniques. Unfortunately, we do not see this learning helping in better governance.
The only takeaway from our history classes is the identification of heroes and villains. And these too are personal. The same person is a hero in one person’s books while being a villain in another’s. Sadly though very few really try to emulate his hero or avoid the mistakes of his villain. Even these strong ideas whither away in higher education (professional courses) leading a person to be lost in his profession.
We do not have a national dream anymore. We do not want our country to be in a certain way. And thus the national dream is lost and thereby a nation. All that is left is hatred against someone and blind faith in another someone. The good news though is that after a period of disintegration leading to disappointment leading to despair, a spark re-ignites this dream. We once again want to feel the national pride, the pride of being citizens of that nation. This dream, this spark, when fanned with the air of wisdom and right direction leads to a great revolution that once again resets the nation to its full potential.
But do we really need this cycle? Can we not build a system by which the national idea is never lost? Yes, we can. We need to identify what we can be proud about in our nation. Then we need to ensure that the things we are proud of are sustained and handed over to the next generation not as blind rituals like in religion, but as great ideals and the knowledge of the necessities of these ideals. This is where history as a subject can help, to demonstrate how certain ideals take our nation to greatness and certain weaknesses take it to failure.
Essentially we need an education system that builds not just intelligence but intellect. This needs to be done by an analytical study rather than axiomatic principles. This needs a new generation of teachers who do not just want to teach but to educate. They should themselves be intellectual and analytical in their approach; not the pseudo-scientific kind who believe what other scientists say but who question everything said by everyone.
Let us all dream again of great nations. Let us all find national pride again. Not the kind of patriotism that imbibes hatred against others but the kind that makes us love our nation and respect other nations. Let these great nations learn and collaborate and grow till one day the whole world becomes one great nation.