Power of education
Education,  Insights

What is the greatest power of education?

A few days ago I came across this question: “What is the greatest power of education?” A big question isn’t it?! It made me reflect a lot…

The verb “to educate” comes from the Latin “educere” which means “to extract”. I really like this meaning, because it tells us to dig deeper: don’t be satisfied with what you see on the surface, the external appearance, the prejudices, the obvious things, but go deeper, “extract” everything that is hidden inside: these are the gift, the talents, the abilities, and skills.

In fact, educating is not a transmission of knowledge; on the contrary, as Socrates said, educating is “igniting the desire for knowledge”, first of all, the desire to get to know ourselves. “Desire” is a beautiful and fascinating word that is so used a lot, but only a few people know its deeper meaning. The word derives from the Latin “de-“ which means “without” and “sidus-“ which means “star”: therefore, desire means “lack of stars” or, among other meanings, the longing for something important and its associated passionate quest.
To summarise, the desire for knowledge according to Socrates, as a passionate quest for something we are desperately longing for, is among the most beautiful and deep meanings related to education, in my opinion.



And it’s exactly for this reason that I believe that


… the greatest power of education …


is to instill curiosity, amazement, the ability to wonder, and to start the quest.
An eternal quest that does not end with obtaining a given title, or with achieving a certain milestone or reaching a certain age, but on the contrary, a quest that will only end with life.

What this means to us, educators of any kind, is a great sense of responsibility, because we are and must be, first of all, witnesses.  We must be able to ignite this desire, be able to “infect”, but always through love, which is a desire for beauty.
As Benjamin Franklin said: “Tell me and I’ll forget, teach me and I’ll remember, involve me and I’ll learn”!


Anyone who knows me well enough will say that I talk a lot but, apparently, I also seem to be writing a lot:-)

I would like to leave you with one last thought, really just the last one, I promise!

It’s an extract taken from Seneca’s “Letters to Lucilius”; I believe it is the best thing that every educator, parent, or teacher can wish to the people they care for!


Letter to Lucilius…

“Dear Lucilius,
  I would like you to own this joy: it will never let you down once you have found its source.
The metals of low value are easily found on the surface; the precious ones, though, are hidden deep under the surface, but will provide a greater satisfaction to those who have the tenacity to search for them and extract them. 

The things the world gets delighted with are ephemeral and volatile pleasures; and any joy that comes from outside, dear Lucilius, is insubstantial. This joy that I’m talking about and to which I will try to lead you toward is a lasting joy, which is born inside you and expands from within.

Therefore I plead to you, my dearest Lucilius, please do the one thing that can make you really happy: despise and trample on the superficial goods that come from outside and that offer themselves to you too easily and too quickly; instead, aim for the real good and enjoy what belongs to you.

You will ask me, what belongs to me? Your true self, and the best part of yourself. “

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