When I first looked at this statement I pondered for a moment. Does this mean if you go to school, you stay out of prison? Or if you’re in prison but look at it as a place to learn it is no longer a prison? Does it mean that education unlocks the gates of your mind and allows you to be free of a self-imposed prison?
I knew I agreed with the statement, no matter what form it took. Francis Bacon was on the money when he stated “knowledge is power” but I would put it out there that education and knowledge is more than that. Education is freedom. It is the ability to be taken seriously and enact real change within yourself and for others. Education transcends class and wealth and, as long as it is given freely and not held back, it is the great leveller.
Years ago while taking a psychology class I learnt about multiple intelligences. Howard Gardner stated that there was not one type of intelligence but many and people learn in different ways. With that in mind it opens up the notion that all people can grow and progress. With this progression comes confidence in one’s ability to be more than originally believed possible.
If we take the above statement literally and apply it to prisoners, I wonder, given a stable environment and education that met their needs, if they would be in prison at all? Some, not all, prisoners are there through a stepping stone of unfortunate background events. Those whose parents lacked education find it harder to bestow things they do not know onto their children. Some come from drug related backgrounds or abuse. Would education about the effects of these things stop them from taking drugs, maybe not, but bestowing education on someone isn’t just about teaching them a specific skill set. It is about teaching them that they have the capacity to grow as long as they explore and find things out for themselves.
If we look at the multiple intelligences model maybe these parents could have learnt that their worth and intelligences don’t just lie in English and Mathematics but also in other areas. Could it be possible that it may foster a sense of worth in them that made them less likely to abuse drugs and their children? Could this have led to them encouraging their own children to feel worthy too, crushing the revolving destructive cycle? Maybe?
When we look at education as unlocking the gates of a self-imposed prison I think of the person in a rut, stuck in the middle of a situation they no longer want to be in and education flashes like a neon sign. Learning about others, finding out what works and what doesn’t, understanding yourself and what makes you allow certain factors into your life is all education. These things all allow you to unlock your self-imposed prison and make new things happen for yourself. The mind is a powerful tool but too many people place it on auto pilot and don’t question or challenge their own ideas. This allows our brain to fall back on and retrieve outdated information and beliefs to solve problems. Our circumstances and environments change and we need to be fluid enough to change with them.
I encourage you to read, become educated and challenge your past beliefs. I can almost guarantee that there will be another person in this world who has been in your position and made it out the other side.
I don’t have a degree but I’ve completed many courses and listened to as many people as I can. I’ve given up the idea that I need a degree in my hand to be considered educated. I cannot stress enough that education comes from exploration and every person has something to contribute. Go out there and do a course, speak to people regularly, look around you and soak in what the world has to offer. Learn the lessons as they come to you. It is easy to think badly of yourself and allow your lack of self-esteem to get in the way but this does not help anyone. The people you are talking to have the same fears about something as you do. They are happy you are listening. The course you are taking is broadening your horizons, giving you something new to discuss and opening up new pathways in your brain. There is no reason you can’t develop yourself and decide to say no to the life you think you are meant to live.
He who opens a school door, closes a prison.
He who educates himself, unlocks his mind to possibility.
It is the same thing.
Choose to be more.