The Spiritual & Moral Crisis of Education: A thesis of the Soul

All Real Education is the Architect of the Soul ` William Bennett

The greatest tragedy in America is the deconstruction and misappropriation of knowledge that provides fragile black minds with historical clarity and understanding of their lineage and place in world affairs. To isolate a young mind from such truth immediately cripples and his renders his self -esteem void of a balanced worldview. In this case it made sense as to why Blacks in America wasn’t allowed to read for hundreds of years upon their arrival into America. An Educated black class represented problems for the dominate society.  Although, slaves arrived much earlier than 1619 we see that two hundred years later in 1819 states were still prohibiting slaves to read and or write. Pockets of Black excellence infringed upon these policies and was able to educate themselves. Yet, these iniquitous beginnings served as a means for separating the black population from a general knowledge of its language, religion, dietary laws, spiritual ideologies and culture.    

Ancient Texts explain that no man puts new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish”. Despite the significance of this parable being able to conjure up multiple meanings; it spoke more to Slave owners withholding the historical linage of a captured people, in order to avoid slaver rebellions (Notably Nat Turner, Gabriel Prosser & Denmark Vesey) and disobedience to the masters. A Biblical reference (Slaves obey your earthly masters) was also used in maintaining control and order among the ranks of enslaved Africans. James Baldwin explains that “History is not the past. It is the present. We carry our history with us. We *are* our history. If we pretend otherwise, we literally are criminal”. Baldwin speaks to the notion that blacks came to America as an extension of our former greatness which could never actually be cut off except for the withholding of spiritual traditions in lieu of Eurocentric religion.

It’s impossible to erase the spiritual nature of a people in lieu of a new set of rulers. Europeans tried their best to cut the noses off our spiritual monuments in Egypt because it spoke to the craftsmanship, wealth, creativity, and spiritual energy of a people. It spoke to African Spirituality. The death of a seed (Knowledge, Wisdom, & Understanding) is the burial of future generations of Artisans, Doctors, Lawyers, Painters, CEO’s, Presidents, Educators, Builders, Thinkers, Neurosurgeons, Bankers, Farmers and the like. Ancient African kingdom speaks to the reservoir of untapped potential that is trapped inside the soul of black folks as W.E.B. Dubois used to call it. A Spiritual and Moral crisis in education is more about matters of the mind, body and soul, rather than systemic changes in policies, and reform measures that do little to curb the inequality that persists in public education.   

In Hindsight, it’s the soul that truly suffers which can cause significant disruptions in the psychological, social and educational functioning of a young mind. The mills of the Gods grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine. No one can escape the ramifications of withholding education from the minds of a people for two hundred years. Menander (342–292 B.C), says that the man who has never been flogged, has never been taught”. This parable has been traced back to “sparing the rod and spoiling the child”, but the overall narrative provides insight into the spiritual and moral crisis of an educational system that will not come to terms of its perpetuated injustices. The Achievement gap is no accident and dates back until the first-time slaves stepped foot in America. Fast-Forward 400 + years and you have tons of educated blacks who hasn’t been trained in the ways of his or her cultural significance.

Carter G. Woodson, American Historian, author, journalist and founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH); in his world renown book “The Mis-Education of The Negro” highlights on Pg. 6 the sentiments of a mind trained do for others and despise the very greatness from which his original mind hails. “The Negro graduate has had little or no training at all. The people whom he has been ordered to serve have been belittled by his teachers to the extent that he can hardly find delight in undertaking what his education has led him to think is impossible”.  To drill in a young and feeble mind that his natural intelligence and genius is inferior to that of his peers k-12 presents a significant problem once that individual begins to venture out in the world and explore what’s possible concerning the gifts that God has place in him. 

Jack Lindsay, author of the Anatomy of the spirit “An Inquiry into the origins of Religious Emotion”, explains that “False associations of ideas, gaining a temperament of its own through the divisions and anxieties of social life, can develop in individual’s certain fantasies and emotions that profoundly affect his/her behavior”. If I am always learning about my heritage as second class to other races of the world then I will soon start taking on the nature of a person who never sees himself as a winner in the game of life. The ideology of a permanent underclass as way of life is gross negligence on behalf of the oppressor and or educational gatekeepers. Considering, the fact the certain curriculum lack information about the greatness of the black race explains the need for a “Thesis of the Soul” moment.

Those changes may come in small ways to begin with, but as you move further and further into the new, they will become more drastic and vital. Sometimes it needs a complete upheaval to bring about a new way of life.                                                              ~ Eileen Caddy

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