Generally, it is assumed that education is designed to enlighten—making one wiser. There is no dispute in assuming that knowledge comes from educated people. However, it can also be proven that all problems emanate from supposing that all knowledge comes from educated people. The reader should first appreciate that another term of defining stupidity is pride.
It can only be a stupid person who assumes that when knowledgeable of something that others do not understand makes one wiser. Only fools compare themselves with other people, to determine the notion of being wiser. All humans were created in God’s image. As not to be compared, one to the other, except to be compared against God, in whose image they were created.
To buttress this viewpoint, let us use our Zimbabwean situation as a classical example. There are those advancing the narrative that Robert Mugabe authored the current shameful state of Zimbabwe. However, Mugabe was backed by Zimbabweans. The charisma and oratory abilities of Robert Mugabe was charming to most people.
The unworkability of his divisive party’s manifesto, at that time, left only a minority to see where the country was headed. The idea of inclusivity, as projected by the Patriotic Front, comprising the two-party liberation warriors, was evidently most reasonable.
However, the narrow-mindedness of seeking glory highlighted the charmingly erudite Robert Mugabe. Exclusivity became convenient for the glory-seekers. Such pride was considered more important than the future state of Zimbabwe.
Having shut-off their analytical abilities, most people could not scrutinize the consequences of divisive politics. There is no denial that Gukurahundi was supported by Shona-speaking people—sold to the idea of eliminating the Ndebele-speaking people.
To the unwise, the term Ndebele represents tribal origin. But to the wise, the Ndebele language has got nothing to with one’s tribal origin. Mugabe supporters came from the Shona-speaking groupings, who comprised the majority. This is why the genocidal activities could not be effectively highlighted, similarly to how the recent sporadic state-sponsored killings are highlighted.
We did not have social media at that time. But the Gukurahundi genocides could not be viewed as appalling, to those valuing tribal differences. This should not be interpreted as inviting retribution, for such stupidity. This, simply, highlights follies that can be corrected when appreciating the cause.
The current Zimbabwean president, Emerson Mnangagwa, is viewed as atrociously evil, by those with a propensity to commit similar crimes. Without doubt, most of those viewing ED to be evil, actually, contributed to his ascendance. It is on record that the multitudes marched to exercise the unquestionable desire to remove Mugabe, in preference for Mnangagwa, in 2017.
This was notwithstanding the track record of Emmerson Mnangagwa, spanning the entire period of approximately forty years. How could the marchers be so stupid, as to fail to see the obvious? Amazingly, the marchers included those from the MDC formations, who had lost their compatriots through state-sponsored violence, superintended by ED in 2008.
As people celebrated Mugabe’s fall, only a few were convinced that the worst was yet to come. The mantra of a new dispensation caused everyone to assume that Mnangagwa was messianic. Many people only got awakened recently, yet the wise saw this coming at the point of installing ED into power.
No wonder why Jesus says, wide is the gate that leads to destruction and narrow is the gate—seen only by a few—that leads to life (Matthew 7:13-14). There will always be a cause for every effect. But nothing is as important as knowledge, in this world. It is a question of how to acquire knowledge—which is a subject of this presentation.
The pursuit of knowledge can cause stupidity when wrongly aiming at pomposity. The simplest form of validating this datum is in education that invokes pride. Proper education invokes humility. Although, obviously, what is said here is scandalously chided by ostentatious scholars.
The understanding of the wise is based on the datum that each human being was created in God’s image. There is nothing to improve on what was created in God’s image. The only sustainable education is in helping one to discover his/her beingness. Anything else imposed on that person is fake.
The history of education stems from the Greeks, whose language became regarded as sophisticated, in ancient times. While Romans had become rulers at the time of Jesus, the Greek language was spoken by the educated people. Although, having been the greatest Scholar, Jesus’ native language was Aramaic—associated with the uneducated. At one stage Paul was confronted by the proud Greek philosophers:
“Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, ‘May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we would like to know what they mean.’(All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)
Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: ‘People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.
‘The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, “We are his offspring.”
‘Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. In the past, God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead’”(Acts 17:19-31) (NIV).
Fortunately for Paul, those Greeks were willing to listen. It is rare for scholars to become willing listeners to non-scholars without provable credentials. Interestingly, that passage of Scripture shows that some of those Greek scholars became willing to pursue Paul’s teachings:
“When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, ‘We want to hear you again on this subject.’ At that, Paul left the Council. Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others”(Acts 17:32-34) (NIV).
This was a worthwhile achievement by Paul, even though sneered by some. The Greek Scholars initiated the foundation of the educational system—committed to invalidating newcomers. A proud person glorifies himself, rather than giving glory to others. This reality sustains the current educational system.
But, the more educated a person is, the stupider he becomes. In his own right, Paul was an educated scholar. Unlike the other apostles, Paul had been trained under the most renowned theological Scholar, Gamaliel. Nevertheless, Paul publicly confessed:
“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today.I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison,as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished”(Acts 22:3-5) (NIV).
Although educated, Paul committed murderous crimes, emanating from his educational standpoint—not founded on humility. As proof that the current educational system enforces pride, rather than humility, it is impossible for non-scholars to share God’s word with theologians. It is impossible to access an audience with scholars when regarded as uneducated.
Such scholars only entertain those holding educational credentials, rather than opening up to help those considered as uneducated. As long as regarded as an educational nonentity, one would not be granted time with theologians, whatsoever.
The province of theology is considered esoteric, although without a proven basis for such a consideration. The first twelve apostles of Jesus were not theologians. They were as ordinary as we are. Jesus was not a product of educational institutions of that time. The apostle Paul had to eventually rubbished his own educational achievements:
“What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death”(Philippians 3:8-10) (NIV).
How then, does one become stupider, when educated? The definition of stupidity is premised on the condition of pride. Ignorance on its own is not stupidity. However, a stupid person assumes to know, thereby putting an obstacle against knowledge. This is why Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven”(Matthew 5:3) (NIV).
An ignorant person is not, necessarily, stupid, but should be regarded as wise, as long as appreciating being ignorant, of other things. As peculiarly created, each individual holds the unknown information. But the same ignorant person also becomes stupid, if unable to humbly open up for knowledge.
Human beings were created to depend on one another, just as the functions of the human body are designed to serve the entire body. This is the most fundamental reality of the original significance of humanity. Each person survives to provide what would be unachievable by others.
Instead of always thinking about benefiting self, one seeks to benefit others. Nothing makes any person special, regardless of novel information, except providing services as required by others. For instance, the highly successful musicians are not, necessarily, graduates from musical colleges.
The same applies in other fields, like writing. Successful authors are not Scholars. Professors in writing are generally known for being good editors, rather than successful authors—except when possibly, producing what augments their professions. As a professional footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo is not, necessarily, a Scholar?
The point is that any person is professional when identifying with his/her own intrinsic abilities. That person does not need training—as delineated in the current educational system. Education becomes necessary, only when enabling a person to discover his or her own intrinsic talent.
Each person was born with intrinsic talents, incomparable to others. Another person is different, in terms of quality and capabilities. If providing a service, considered most valuable, that does not, necessarily, make one more important than others.
What makes the current educational system unacceptable, is the assumption of superiority after graduation. Wisdom lies in servitude—so that the educated ought to be enslaved in educating the uneducated. Jesus instructed the adoption of servitude:
“Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’”(Matthew 20:25-28) (NIV).
Pride and stupidity are synonymous, as codified in assuming being wiser, without appreciating that all humans represent God’s image. A normal person cannot assume being wiser than God—a viewpoint that delineates insolvable challenges, faced by humanity.
Currently, Zimbabwe is manifesting the effects of a culture of superiority by its leaders. Those rulers brazenly display the idea that leaders deserve respect, and the led deserve non-respect. This is evil and needs correction if Zimbabwe is to be extracted from its shameful condition of poverty.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99