22. Upbringing Is More Important Than Education


In his writing "On Upbringing and the Family", ancient Greek philosopher Plato states that the upbringing of an individual, which cultivates human nature and character, is more important than education, which embraces all other fields of human thinking and activity: "The law-giver must not allow upbringing to be pushed into the background or to become mere ancillary work. Instead, upbringing should be given due attention (…) And if sometimes upbringing is on the decline but it may be aided through additional support, then all should strive to support it continuously and all their life. Only the endless education aimed towards acquiring moral virtues deserves to be denoted as upbringing." Our scholar, Johann Amos Comenius, also placed more importance on upbringing than on education: "Insufficient spiritual upbringing, i.e. moral education, brings destruction upon people, families, and nations." And Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk's ideas are undoubtedly still up-to-date today: "True democracy is based on morality. The development of the school is the quintessential source of the development of democracy. The state needs to serve moral purposes. It is said that a good school saves money expended on crime, hospitals, and poorhouses." Likewise, the saying that "an educated scoundrel is a greater hazard to the society than an uneducated one" clearly implies the priority given to upbringing as opposed to edification. The growing repression over prevention through education evidences that proper upbringing based on natural moral law (hereinafter referred to as the "Law") is being neglected. When we say Law, we concurrently mean the Legislator, as a valid law is not feasible without a legislator. The positive attitude of people towards both the Law and the Legislator draws a distinct line between proper upbringing, i.e. democratic, and improper upbringing, which denies the existence of the Law and derives its moral standards from its human power – as demonstrated by the recent totalitarian history of Russia and Germany. Mikhail Gorbachev defined the attempt to remedy the moral health of the society as follows: "Our most important task today is to uplift people spiritually, to respect their inner world, to consolidate their moral attitude. You will achieve nothing, unless you restore the health of the society by enforcing moral values. Moreover, democracy constitutes moral purgation of the society, the restoration of its moral health." It is worth mentioning the words of Prime Minister Václav Klaus in his New Year's Day address to the nation in 1993 (see Mladá fronta DNES, 3 January 1993): „An independent Czech state has come into existence and only we, us all, shall decide what it will be like, what our contribution to it will be, what constructive approach to its development will predominate in us all. I would like to point out three moments that shall predetermine our future. Firstly, we succeeded in renewing political plurality. Secondly, we managed to introduce the economic reform and to implement it to a large extent. And thirdly, we are at the beginning of the spiritual revival of the Czech society, returning it to the roots of our existence as a nation and a state, bringing it back to the European traditions. I mainly have in mind the Christian tradition in the broadest sense of the term." This third point conforms with Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk's thought: "I cannot imagine our people growing up without knowing Jesus and his teachings. Those having no knowledge of Christianity would in fact be aliens on our cultural soil. Jesus and not Caesar – that is the sense of our history and our democracy." In this respect, we need to underline the difference between the teachings of Jesus and the teachings of various Christian churches all around the world. The current approach to upbringing is taken from the Deník newspaper commentator, Ivan Hoffman: "It is necessary to clear the school environment of blackguardism and reinstate decency among school children. We must not allow bullying. We must demand moral behaviour. We need to teach children self-defence against aggressive civilisation ailments. We have to insist on the young respecting the old. That is the main task of schooling and education. Mathematics can wait." (DENÍK, 1 July 2010) The material argument in favour of the superiority of upbringing over edification is the fact that upbringing based on democracy and the Law is in harmony with the cosmic plan of the evolution of the human realm on Earth. That is the main reason of our birth and life on our planet.

As a spiritual science dealing with theoretical morale as well as different morals practiced by people and nations, ethics represents the supporting pillar of a truly democratic worldview. The ethics of the Law may dispense with religion, while religion cannot do without ethical, i.e. moral, standards of the Law. Without respecting the Law, religion may fall prey to darkness, i.e. terrorism, which kills in the name of the Law. This tragic evolutionary error is well known from the history of Christianity, as well as present-day Islam. And the rule that a good cause should not justify bad means applies more than ever in this case.

Real democracy is not the rule of the people or political parties; it is the rule of the Law with a single priority for all political parties. The priority is proper, i.e. democratic, upbringing based on the Law. Democracy and its institutions (legislators, government, justice) may be decreed, unlike democrats that cannot. They have to be educated.

A democratic worldview may be compared to light, while a non-democratic worldview may be compared to darkness. Light is electromagnetic radiation conceived by electricity (father) and magnetism (mother). Darkness has no parents. Darkness is lack of light resulting from obstacles barring light inside and outside of us. The opposite of the democratic, i.e. ethical, worldview is largely materialism.


František Venzara, Štěpánov near Olomouc

 

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