Philosophically Speaking: What is Education?

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all” — Aristotle (384BC – 322BC).

What is education? Education is a critical component of human growth and development. Education is a human construct, a process of learning, unlike intelligence that people inherit at birth; nevertheless, people can develop higher intelligence. Education is the primary foundation that engenders a life purpose, and for finding solutions to fundamental human needs, priorities, and emergencies. Education ought to be the first imperative of governments, to institutionalize, standardize some aspects of learning, to create growth in the society that is orderly, structured, managed, and able to be maintained  — strategically — and progressively.

Without an educational roadmap, nations could not progress spiritually, morally, socially, intellectually, and physically, but how do individuals and nations measure the benefits of billions of dollars of investments in education? Can education overcome the challenges of the postmodern era? What ought to be the primary goals of education? The answers are more fundamental than the questions. Education begins with the student and the teacher, and learning is the critical component in the academic information exchange. Students’ learning abilities, ages, maturity, and capacity for learning are essential to the education process. These criteria underpin the design of educational tools and are indispensable in meeting the human resource needs of nations.

The rise of trade, government, and formal religion came the invention of writing, by about 3100 BC, with the Scribes and Priests (The History of Education, Edited By Robert Guisepi) ( Fast forward to 2018 A.D. Postgraduate Degrees, Graduate Degrees, and Masters of Business Administration (MBA) Degrees have become fundamental requirements for individuals in a wide range of science and engineering endeavors, and occupations in education, leadership, and management. These degrees have mushroomed throughout universities, private institutions, and corporations, with expenditures in billions of dollars.


Despite the phenomenal growth in world’s expenditure on education in 2014, which was $1,776 trillion (Reference: Stockholm International Peace Institute (SIPI)), the Institute for Healthcare Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) states: Global spending on health is expected to increase to $18.28 trillion worldwide by 2040, but many countries will miss important health benchmarks (IHME, University of Washington, 2017. Accessed 01 March 2018 from

Notwithstanding, advances in science and technology, and advanced diagnostic techniques aided by artificial intelligence (AI), organizations that monitor global trends provide a chronology of insurmountable problems facing the postmodern era. For instance, Horst W. J. Rittel and Melvin M. Webber, professors of design and urban planning at the University of California at Berkeley, refers to the problems as “wicked problems.” They proffer that “wickedness isn’t a degree of difficulty. Wicked issues are different because traditional processes cannot resolve them. They described them in a 1973 article in Policy Sciences magazine” (Harvard Business Review, Strategy as a Wicked Problem. By John C. Camillus, May 2008 Issue.

“According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the number of refugees and internally displaced people has reached its highest point since World War II at 60 million. The annual cost of this displacement, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, has now reached almost $100 billion. Accessed 01 March 2018:

The © World Health Organization (2017). “Globally, the total number of people with depression was estimated to exceed 300 million in 2015. Nearly that number again suffers from a range of anxiety disorders.” Accessed 01 March 2018 from: (

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations states: World hunger is on the rise: the estimated number of undernourished people increased from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2016 ( Accessed: 01 March 2018).

The Millennium Project Global Futures Studies & Research (2012) cited fifteen global challenges to provide a framework to assess the local and global prospects for the survival of humankind in the future. These include sustainable development and climate change, clean water, population and resources, democratization, peace and conflict, global foresight and decision-making, the rich-poor gap, and the status of women. (

Education ought to be a “human value” proposition of the first order, with the inherent capacity (inherent) to lift humanity to great heights of rational behavior. Education ought to incorporate the intangibles such as knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, and the power to apply fairness, reason, realism, integrity, prudence, and discernment to solve fundamental human problems. The reality of our postmodern era is that we have arrived at crossroads of material progress on the one hand, and a decline in spiritual, moral, social, and intellectual development on the other.

Observe the distrust with some political elites, the cyclic collapse of the world economies, and the moral failure of “educated” elites in academia, high finance, politics, and religion. Observe the decline in the display of international peace and harmony, the hoarding of strategic resources, corporate greed, the accumulation of superfluous wealth, global terrorism, and the advent of World War III, as many trend watchers postulate. Observe the human condition through the prisms of human laws wars, and refugees of war. Observe the rise in the use of legal and illegal drugs, in anxiety, in stress, in depression, in loneliness, and worse of all suicide and criminal behavior among children, juveniles and adults. These human conditions confirm a universal decline in the capacity of postmodern education to lift human beings to new heights of humanity and to build and sustain viable civilizations.


There is a need for an evaluation of the focus of education that calls for a new and all-encompassing education model. This evaluation must look deeply into the human condition that inspires human trafficking, racism, sexism, terrorism, genocide, wars, and fear and anxiety that overwhelms individuals and nations, despite billions of dollars educating the masses. This evaluation must help to develop the human capacity to mitigate lifestyle challenges such as the use of illegal drugs, smoking, and reckless driving. It must help human beings to rise above social injustice, due to race, color, culture, class or religion.

This evaluation must shield people from the dangers of discontent with our race, our color, our hair, our looks, our bodies, and our suffering. It must address the human compulsion toward hatred, jealousy, inadequacy, and greed that fuels our material lifestyles of wants over needs. This evaluation must inspire hope through a belief in “Spiritual Intelligence” (SQ) to underpin, and enable “Human Intelligence” (HQ). To further enable “Artificial Intelligence” (AI), and imbue spiritual progress. Spiritual progress is an international display of the “fruit of the Spirit” such as love, joy, peace, patience (longsuffering), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self–control (Galatians 5:22–23 (NKJV)).

This new all-encompassing educational model is a wholesome education (WE). Only a WE can liberate humanity completely — spiritually, morally, socially, intellectually and physically. These five foundational perspectives must, of necessity have measurable outcomes that are similar to academic information literacy (AIC) and numeracy. Only a WE curriculum can engender peaceful co-existence, underpinned by spiritual progress, which is the apex of growth of nations. Following is a brief definition of five foundations of a WE. Gibbs & Grey, © 2011 Five Foundations of Human Development (FFHD): What is Education? Pp. 355-379.


Spiritual (religious) education informs the purpose and the moral codes that underpin the oneness of humanity, and enhance understanding in a world polarized by racial, cultural, gender, and religious indifference. It informs of the necessity for Spiritual leadership as a pre-requisite for global leadership. It establishes the foundation for religious unity, which is essential for roles as leaders in multi-cultural and multi-faith societies. Religious education informs students of the origins of religions, various belief systems, their cultural heritage, and spiritual well-being. Unlike the exclusivity of religious institutions, public schools, colleges, and universities are the most integrated environments at the most critical stage of human development. Hence, these entities are the most appropriate institutions to teach the universal principles of human goodness and rightness.


Moral education informs students about the basis upon which to exercise moral leadership, moral power, and moral authority, and to make a prudent judgment in critical situations. It helps the student to develop moral capacity, to make decisions that demonstrate moral courage and moral persuasion. It helps the student to understand how to manage the intersection between the “Theory of Management” and the “Theory of Leadership,” and moral and civic duty. It provides them with opportunities to examine different styles of leadership and authority, past and present, and the impact of decisions made within those styles on respective nations, and the world.


Social education prepares students for 15 different types of relationships such as Spiritual, Marital, Parental, Sibling, Romantic, Platonic, Business, Associate, Casual, Subordinate, Territorial, Sovereign, International, Constitutional, and Judicial relationship? Social education is the chief ingredient needed to understand the many forms of relationships at different stages throughout the student’s lifetime to adulthood. Social education informs students about the capacity to develop their relationships within families, with other races, cultures, religions, and with different. Social education helps students to see all human being as equal and deserving of love and social justice. The advent of the global village informs the need for higher forms of social interaction for global inclusiveness, and worldwide peace and harmony.


Intelligence is the most significant gift to humankind. There are three significant levels of intelligence (Spiritual, Human, and Artificial). All sub-structures or modalities fall within one or the other of these three levels. Intelligence informs the human capacity to make life-enhancing and life-saving decisions. More importantly, it is a necessity for all three levels of intelligence to be in Concord for the stability of humankind, to achieve the highest potential for learning, behavior, and survival as a viable human species.

Intellectual education provides students with the capacity to develop their mental faculties to take on intellectual and academic pursuits. It allows students to understand better the different concepts of intelligence and education and their value to human development. It increases their understanding of human limitations and capabilities. It enables students to understand the role of intellectual leadership in the world that forms the basis for intelligent decision-making, as they examine leadership that both failed and succeeded in guiding human societies.


Physical Education informs students understanding of the sanctity of the human body and an awareness of human physical and mental vulnerabilities. It helps students to develop their physical abilities and their self–esteem while cultivating a greater awareness of his or her higher spiritual being and existence. Physical Education enables students to understand the critical importance of the health of our physical bodies relative to the health of the physical environment (direct correlation). Physical education helps to inform of the fundamental differences between botanical and pharmacological perspectives of human health. It forms of the need for a human ecology to sustain life on Earth.


Only by a “Wholesome Education” curriculum discussed briefly in this paper, we can achieve the benefits stated, and foster a better world for present and future generations. Regardless of race, culture, color, social or economic status, or religion, no group can claim a monopoly or rights to the planet and its resources. We share common needs, destiny, and purpose. This knowledge ought to be at the foundation of postmodern education for humanity to survive as a viable species.

Katharine Hansen (2001) writes, “Next to quality of life: Is there anyone who wouldn’t like to live a longer, healthier [happier] life? Studies show that, compared to high school graduates, college graduates have: [sic]

longer lifespans;
better access to health care;
better dietary and health practices;
greater economic stability and security;
more prestigious employment and greater job satisfaction;
less dependency on government assistance;
greater use of seat belts;
more continuing education;
greater Internet access;
greater attendance at live performances;
greater participation in leisure and artistic activities;
more book purchases;
higher voting rates;
greater knowledge of government;
greater community service and leadership;
more volunteer work;
more self–confidence; and
less criminal activity and incarceration].”

The eighteen benefits of education articulated above present compelling arguments for education as a critical “happiness enabler.” Education has a direct relationship to our happiness, and “Happiness Index” (HI), but only a “Wholesome Education” can achieve these objectives. A wholesome education engenders distinguished leadership and skillful authority over nations. It guides humanity along a path of understanding the universal need for parallel development of individuals and societies, and social justice ― universally.


In 2002, Errol Gibbs relinquished his technical career to research, study, and write about the betterment of humanity, enabled by spiritual, moral, social, intellectual, and physical growth and development. Errol hopes that this article will shed light on another path that will better inform the mutual survival of humankind as a viable species.


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