An education provides you with the wisdom and knowledge to do whatever you want with your life.
At some point in your life, someone has probably asked you the following question: If you could have any superpower, what would you pick? You then briefly pondered the question – would you choose to have the ability to fly or to control time? Would you pick teleportation? Telepathy? Extra-strength? Then you thought wistfully that superpowers don’t really exist, and continued about your day.
What if I told you about a superpower greater than all of those fantastical abilities that actually exists? A gift that would allow you to defend yourself against the strongest and evilest of enemies, that would help you solve the most impossible of problems, and that would give you the ability to communicate with others in the deepest, most intimate of levels?
Well what is it, you ask? How come I’ve never heard of it?
The truth is you have heard of it, and more likely than not, you possess some form or level of it. The answer is simple: education.
Before you scoff and roll your eyes, consider this: what can you do with an education? Or better yet, what can’t you do with an education?
The Power of Education
Since the beginning of time, humans have recognized the power of education. Social justice leaders of all kinds have continuously advocated for expanding education, while tyrants and persecutors have consistently prevented the free flow of ideas and knowledge in their respective dominions. Adolf Hitler staged regular book burnings during his reign of power in Germany, Mao Zedong banned books and materials that conflicted with his communist ideals from China, and it was a crime to educate a slave before the end of the American Civil War.
For them, the ban on education was warranted: oppressors know that limiting the knowledge their subjects possess prevents them from forming their own opinions and rising up. It prevents them from understanding the evils committed and from banding together to overthrow despotic regimes. Education frees one from the confines of another’s opinion, and empowers one to learn and make decisions for oneself. It provides not only raw information, but also traits like critical thinking skills and problem solving skills; it leads to innovation and improvement and progress.
An education not only empowers one to shed the chains of oppression, but also enriches the lives of all those who possess it. When you become educated, you learn new ideas. You empathize and communicate better not only with those close to you, but with strangers from different cultures and regions of the world. An education allows you to see the world in exotic and exciting ways, and you gain fresh perspectives. Additionally, the benefits of an education increase exponentially – the more you learn, the more you want to learn. A new idea precipitates curiosity about a number of new related ideas, and those each lead to more questions. Life is more vivid and colorful when one obtains an education; in the same way that food nourishes your body, an education nourishes your mind and soul.
Be the Change You Wish to See in the World
Most importantly, an education provides you with the wisdom and knowledge to do whatever you want with your life, to make an impact on the world, to be who you want to be. A famous and often-quoted remark by Mahatma Ghandi, the renowned leader of the Indian independence movement and an advocate for peace, states that you must “be the change you wish to see in the world.” But how can you change the world or even your life if you don’t understand the things going on around you? Without knowing the history, background, and culture of a community, how can you hope to make an impact upon it? Without knowing the importance of energy conservation or hygiene, how will you keep our world or yourself healthy? An education empowers you to take control of your life in more ways than one.
Some may question the idea of education being a superpower, but it’s the honest truth. Without education, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Individuals from 19th century would think that they’d awoken in another world if they could see our progress in the last 200 years. And in a way, they have. Today, a journey that might’ve taken the better part of a year then now takes a few hours by plane (and we can fly!); fatal diseases from earlier times no longer pose a major threat; buildings now rise so high that they scrape the sky. Nations no longer go to war over personal offenses, and more and more people have access to their basic rights.
Humans are more efficient and compassionate than ever before; we communicate and understand each other far better than we once did. We can do things people once only dreamed about. One day our world will be unrecognizable to us, and it is all because of education.