3.a.3 – Education is important in life?

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March 7, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

educazione

Education is important in life?

Let’s start exploring the river of life from our little stretch of canal, that is from our individual life; the first way to protect it that comes to our minds is to take care of our health, protecting our body from diseases, accidents and aggressions. We rightly see then positively the hygiene, medical care, driving safely, protection of workers and any call to caution, if well-motivated.
Modern medicine shows us that today we have new opportunities to defend ourselves from diseases: vaccines and antibiotics give results that were considered impossible until recent times, not to mention the progress of surgery; security measures and devices in the cars, instruments and procedures at work show us that even in the sector of accidents, great progresses can be made. It is to be noted anyway that in both cases health is protected by scientific and technological progress, but with little contribution from our side, although we are directly concerned; today we know that many cardiac diseases can be prevented with a healthy diet and the same is true for many forms of cancer; doctors today are capable of doing heart transplants, vaccinations and antibiotic treatments, but we still eat in an unbalanced manner, drink spirits and smoke; similarly engineers invented the seat belts, the ABS and airbags, but we continue to run like mad, perhaps without seat belt and maybe even after having had a few drinks.
It is more than evident that new cultural resources are mostly applied only by specialized people, but are not part of the common heritage and the common people incredibly does not cooperate to protect their lives.
How to explain this phenomenon? Maybe a fact known to all can help us: doctors are a category of heavy smokers and certainly exceed the speed limits like all the others do, maybe they are good at saving lives of the others, it is their work and they were trained for this but, like all the others, doctors haven’t received an adequate education to protect their own lives. This is not ignorance and lack of information, but a failure to deliver proper education: can we think that an oncologist does not know the consequences of smoking? Yet he smokes. Can we believe that an orthopedist does not know the consequences of high speed? Yet he runs. Even common people know that smoking is harmful and that high speed is dangerous, but to know it is not enough; for a correct perception of danger, to manage emotions like fear, the tendency to conformism, to transgression or to competition (which lead us to smoke and to imitate the sprinters of the road), we need an intervention of the unconscious, who must have some alternative models of behavior that can meet not only the needs of security, but also the psychological exigencies of the human mind. These examples will confirm once again how the conscious part of our minds, even if equipped with its own culture and training, is subject to the wishes of unconscious and like this, when not appropriately educated from childhood, can lead to self destructive behaviors, up to causing the person death.
How to educate the unconscious of our children? How can we help them to draw an effective mental map? Once there were tales like that of Little Red Riding Hood, which warned us, since we were kids, against wolves and the dangers of the forest; to the terrible stories of snakes and wild beasts were then added the stories and advices of our parents and grandparents, so much that some ended up to hate wolves and snakes without they ever received any harm from them. Tales, myths and religious precepts for millennia have been an effective way for educating people to keep a correct behavior to protect their lives from an environment which remained quite constant, an environment where wolves and snakes were a real threat.
In the age of television, the dangers to our lives have changed but, instead of being clearly identified and properly fought, whole generations have grown fascinated by the advertising of spirits, cigarettes and sports cars, as well as by television smoker heroes who blast on expensive cars, admired by beautiful women.
Only in recent times we have realized this cultural error; the advertising of cigarettes has been banned and those of cars do not enhance the speed as once was usually done; this is a step in the right direction, but a very late one, because the models of wrong behavior are now deeply rooted in our culture.
Despite progress, we are still far behind on this point: looking at the time devoted by the newspapers to a person sentenced to death in a foreign country compared to that devoted to the statistics of road accidents, it seems that to die on the road is a negligible phenomenon, even though depends on our society, while the capital execution concerns a foreign country; the deaths at work seem not to exist at all, unless someone dies dramatically, exploding with the whole factory where he works or something like that; what idea do we have of the dangers that surround us, watching the TV news today? How many deaths there have been caused by crime? Maybe 150, maybe 200? How many due to an accident at work? Watching television, we could think a number like 4 or 5, unless we hear in a marginal service that they are a thousand or more; and what about the deaths on road accidents? They are about six thousand. Why then are we more afraid of being robbed rather than of having a car accident? The answer is always the same: a wrong perception of the hazard, an education inadequate to our own safety.
All this shows us that education is important in the protection and management of our values, starting with the value of life, and how is important to keep it updated with current times, to new dangers. It is appropriate that parents, who are the first but not the only educators of their children, offer valuable examples to imitate, either with their behavior and by appropriate selection and comments of television programs, of books and games; but who educates parents? Not having received it from grandparents, parents must produce themselves the new culture, taking into account the reference value, the lives of their children and their own. 

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