The Need for Alternative Education
Modern education is rooted in several premeditated assumptions: (a) all complexity can be reduced to the simplest ingredients of nature, (b) nature is uniform, such that everything, everywhere, everywhen, is governed by the same unchanging laws, (c) everything can be known completely by speculation and measurement, (d) the past and future are mathematically determined by the aforementioned natural laws, (e) anything that doesn’t fit into this idea of nature will do so given sufficient time and investment, and (f) there is no other better system of thinking.
Each of these assumptions has proven to be false, and all current theories in every single modern field of inquiry face unsurmountable problems. The methods of speculation and measurement used to improve these theories are hopelessly limited by a poverty of imagination unless we see something new, and the inability to see the ordinary in a new way without the imagination.
But modern education never highlights these problems. It never questions its assumptions. And it never entertains the possibility of alternatives. It indoctrinates every new generation into the same flawed and failed thinking, teaching it as the absolutely true gospel, while ridiculing anything outside its assumptions as absolutely false. It covers or hides all its flaws and failures.
Students graduating from modern education (a) are clueless about the problems of modern thinking, (b) cannot trace the problems back to the assumptions, and (c) ridicule any alternative thinking as absolutely false. It is important to study subjects with a critical eye: (a) understand the hidden assumptions, (b) understand the problems they cause, and (c) why alternative views are necessary to solve these problems. The “educated masses” today are incapable of this task, because they are indoctrinated. An alternative education system is needed to deprogram and reeducate: Enable people to question their assumptions, see their flaws, and seek the truth.
Three Modes of Education
In its best form, education teaches us critical thinking; it gives us information about how people have thought before. It also tells us how to think about unsolved problems, the biggest problems, and the biggest unsolved problems. It is safe to say that this type of education is dead today.
In an intermediate form, education gives us useful skills—the theories, patterns, and formulae that can be used to solve everyday problems, to find a job. Even this education is rare today. Most students enter the real world and find that their education was irrelevant to their jobs.
Then, in its worst form, education gives us a degree certificate but we remember neither the ideas taught nor how to apply them practically, let alone critical thinking skills by which we can navigate the big and unsolved problems. Safe to say, this form of education is dominant today.
Declining State of Education
Students today are not trained to apply critical thinking to what they are being taught. They are encouraged to internalize ideas from previous thinking to an extent that they remain unaware of the problems, let alone how to solve them. University- and college-educated students, in fact, are so completely unaware of the serious problems in what they were taught, that if such things are brought to their attention, they immediately consider them false and untrustworthy.
In pre-industrial times, most educated people were polymaths. Post industrialization, people were specialized in one field. Post World War II, children focus on a subfield of a field. The result of this education is that they are unaware of how other people (and other disciplines) think. They are taught that the current ways of thinking are the only way, irrespective of the problems in them.
Goals of Shabda Academy
Shabda Academy aims to: (1) take students out of rote learning and memorization to qualify for exams, (2) create inquisitive, critical thinking people seeking the truth, (3) who are able to value knowledge for its own sake. The focus of Shabda Academy is to help students develop the skill to think about the biggest problems, the unsolved problems, and the biggest unsolved problems.
The courses in Shabda Academy aim to produce thinkers. They help students understand the key ideas in each discipline, how these came about, what problems were solved by their induction, and which problems were created by adopting them. These courses navigate the implications of these ideas and their problems, and how they cause endless confusion in modern academia.
We believe that if students learned subjects not as dogmas of the “priests” of their subjects, who often “preach” their courses like absolutely true gospel, but as ideas that have some value, and many unsolved problems, then they can think for themselves. Independent thoughtfulness requires a system of education that is mostly absent today, and Shabda Academy hopes to fill that gap.
Shabda Academy Courses
This education cannot be conducted in a vacuum. Rather, it should involve the same subjects that were previously learned without grasping their problems. In all these subjects, there are big problems, unsolved problems, and big unsolved problems. Unless we learn about the problems in what we were learned earlier, education is either misleading, or incomplete, or both.
Shabda Academy teaches what is commonly taught in university and college courses. However, it focuses primarily on what is generally ignored or neglected in mainstream education.