Education: The Way Out of Your Mind’s Imprisonment

By Amos Okutse. Amos, 21, is an upcoming writer. He currently attends Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and lives in Nairobi, Kenya. Please read his article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

“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.

22 comments on “Education: The Way Out of Your Mind’s Imprisonment

  1. Moses Oluoch on

    What a great masterpiece!, indeed education is the only way out of imprisonment of the mind. It not only enables you to view ideas differently but it also equips you to handle situations that might actually lead to one being imprisoned in a real jail. Thanks

  2. Samwel N. on

    Your arguments are relatable. I especially liked the piece where you mention how difficult it can be to convince someone that thinks they have got it all covered, when actually they don’t. They are that caught up in their comfort zone to an extent that they fail to see beyond their noses. I agree that this, indeed, creates a sense of imprisonment. When one explores they discover. Great work!

  3. Nigel Omondi on

    Man you just hit the nail on the head!! You’ve clearly brought into perspective Hugo’s words by your article. Keep writing, you’re changing the world by eliminating ignorance.

  4. Kristophe on

    Nice piece of work Amos. I totally agree with you and i would really like to read more of your work. You have really shown us that indeed Education is important and am very sure this piece of work will definitely change people’s perception on education. The way you argue and put across your points is to die for and it really shows how much your well equipped with what your talking about. Your arguments are spot on and are well elaborated. this is definitely one of the best work i have seen from you and i hope there is more soon and i cant wait. I agree that He who opens a school door closes a prison door!


    *I like the way you present your ideas. You actually did a great job linking education to imprisonment of the mind as well as how lack thereof can lead to one being jailed in a real life prison. This is a great article and I appreciate it.*

  6. Haripriya Munipalli on

    Nicely presented. But, which education can remove imprisonment? what is your opinion about what type of education can take us out of mind’s imprisonment? Is it academic education? if so, how can our academics help us do that? what is the right education that can deliver us from mind’s imprisonment?

    • Fred on

      I would say any kind of basic education whether formal or informal that has the ability of changing a persons perception. As the article puts it, when we acquire knowledge, the darkness that engulfs our mind is no longer there. It dissipates. And as such the ignorance that was once there is no longer there. On which kind of education can remove the minds imprisonment, I would say that knowledge comes in many forms, it solely depends on ones intrinsic ability to intensively filter what they perceive to be harmful and incorporate that which they deem useful. The right education for me is that which not only equips one with the basic knowledge and skills, but also that which enables them think critically about situations, enabling them be or grow to be morally upright individuals.

      • Holly on

        I like your comment and point of view. On the ability of an individual being able to filter out harmful information, I would say that I think this is generally incorporated into us at a very young age by basically our parents and even religious leaders. They teach us what is right from wrong. In them giving us this knowledge, they generally help us overcome ignorance which in most instances would have imprisoned our minds without that knowledge. If you were never taught by anyone that stealing is bad, you’re likely to steal and be imprisoned in a real life prison. I love this article. It is really amazing.

        • Haripriya Munipalli on

          The article is good. But, there is no apparent solution for the problem that is clearly discussed here. If our parents say to their child not to steal, the child might ask why he/she must not steal? The probable answer would be that because the law and order says so. Now, there are certain clauses in the law enforcement that are creating loop holes for someone to do crime again. Can you find any law and order that is perfect and releases us from prison instead of punishing us if we really want to transform and live better? Yes, they are the eternal laws of Universe. I feel that Spiritual Knowledge is the right education that can be given to an individual from the childhood as a part of their curriculum to show them a right path. Can anyone disagree with this?


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