“He who opens a school door, closes a prison.” – Victor Hugo
The pursuit of knowledge through the consistent and broad engagement of one’s mind is a process that is extremely important in today’s world. Education, whether formal or informal, plays a very dynamic role in providing invaluable knowledge and skills necessary in one’s everyday life. Learning not only enables an individual to get rid of the imprisonment of the mind that might come as a result of being ignorant, but it also helps them acquire the necessary skills that are vital in their day-to-day activities. While some people might argue that ignorance is bliss, it is imperative that an individual gets rid of this vice that seeks to destroy humanity slowly but surely. People who do not have the necessary life lessons more often than not miss out on a lot of opportunities. The unconscious state of their mind regularly imprisons them, preventing them from seeing beyond their noses. In today’s world, where ignorance is undoubtedly neither defense nor bliss, Victor Hugo’s statement bears a lot of relevance. This essay seeks to corroborate the significance of this statement.
Lack of knowledge (ignorance) is the root of all evil desires and fear, which are painful states and the source of endless errors. While some people might argue that this statement is as a result of having a rather vague understanding of humanity, I believe that having an unchallenged mind is undoubtedly like imprisoning one’s self in a sea of ignorance. One can only break free from this bondage by having an education. It has been said since time immemorial that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. An individual that is ignorant, or rather an individual who has an ambiguous understanding of what is good or bad, is likely to make a lot of mistakes. These mistakes in most instances can result in them ending up in prison. Furthermore, being only interested in your current situation or way of living encourages you to cling to it, creating a sense of imprisonment.
Moreover, discovery is out of the question as long as one clings to the familiar. Sticking to the usual creates a form of caging that one can only break free from through opening doors to
knowledge. Indeed, not having the basic life lessons gained through education, whether formal or informal, can lead to one ending up in a real-life prison.
A mind which is ignorant or lacks knowledge obtained through having a primary education is a mind which only imagines freedom, but in actuality is in bondage. Having the impression that you know, when in reality you don’t, is dangerous. After all, how can you prove to a mind that has already convinced itself that it recognizes the facts, the fact that it does not know? Assuming that you know not only keeps you from exploring new ideas, but it also hinders you from investigating. You remain imprisoned by the idea that you are well-informed to the extent that you are unable to comprehend the basis of views. This situation applies explicitly to new ideas that one is not accustomed to, that is, ideas that are new. It is imperative that one seeks understanding and liberation by breaking through limitations, whether they are self-imposed or accepted. To achieve this liberation, the knowledge acquired through primary education is an irreplaceable asset.
While your mind might be the greatest asset at your disposal, ignorance as a result of lack of knowledge might categorically affect how well you use the resources at your disposal. As a result of lack of knowledge, an individual is quite likely to depend on their surrounding or external circumstances for change. Like a caged animal, one can move but only within the cage. The cage here represents the condition that the individual depends on for a change. Furthermore, this individual is, in most cases, unable to control what happens around them. The individual fears expressing themselves since they are not well equipped with the knowledge necessary for handling such situations. In light of this, the individual remains incarcerated in their comfort zone. A prison that hinders them from exploiting their potential to the maximum.
In my opinion, Victor Hugo’s statement, “He who opens a school door, closes a prison door” is much broader than what meets the eye. Ignorance, in my opinion, is the chief cause of imprisonment, especially that of the mind. When one decides to open up their thoughts to explore new ideas and seek knowledge from a library of resources at their disposal, the darkness that in most cases has been engulfing their mind vanishes like a dream. An elementary education not only equips them with the knowledge they can use to free their perceptions of the prison that results from lack of knowledge, but it also prepares them with real-world lessons they can apply to avoid ending up in real life prisons.
In as much as there are a lot of obstacles when considering how to break free from this incarceration, the fruits of being knowledgeable are far much sweeter than the darkness and imprisonment associated with the lack thereof. Such obstacles include wrong ideas. Discovering oneself and abandoning these false ideologies removes what prevents the real from entering the mind. When an individual stays in their comfort zone, convincing themselves that ignorance is bliss, they end up not discovering the true nature of things. The fear of asking questions is the leading cause of inevitability. In asking questions and in taking charge of situations, one can see more clearly. The kind of imprisonment due to ignorance is no longer there. Education is thus the only way out of your mind’s imprisonment. For me, Hugo’s statement indeed holds truth to it.