literacy (adj.) "educated, instructed," early 15c., from latin: literatus "educated, learned," literally "one who knows the letters," formed in imitation of greek: grammatikos" from latin: litttera/litteru "letter."
in order to know how literate one is, one may pick a few words that one uses frequently on a daily basis, words like: responsibility, love, question, and such. then open the etymology dictionary and read their meanings. see how much the dictionary meaning matches with what one had meant by those words. even the dictionary itself gives four or more meanings for every word listed. and every new edition of the dictionary accommodates meanings that have been commonly accepted, making some words to be obsolete or even absent. this assimilation of words and meanings from different languages is an ongoing process of communication among people coming together, and it is much faster than even the re-edited version of the current dictionary. so unless one is really patient in communication with every person outside of one's familiar grounds, one fails to understand the stranger, or is one unable to express oneself.
there are estimated more than 5000 languages. there never has been any one individual person who could communicate in each and every one of all these languages. so it follows, that once outside of a traditional home, every person is likely to become an illiterate person, especially in any cosmopolitan city of the modern world, where the milling crowd is composed of people from many diverse language groups. even in the u.s. there have been tragic instances happening due to the language problem between the police and foreign imigrants.
the shortcut to overcome the language problem is to use the gun instead of the formal way of learning the local language using the pen. that is the way of the colonizers who imposed the task of learning the foreign language upon the natives. all major languages of the world, arabic, chinese, english, farsi, french, hindi, and spanish thus became major by being imposed upon the natives, not because of their linguistic merits or that they were more easily adaptable and communicable. within the group of the native speakers, the literati strived to show off their literacy by including words and phrases of foreign languages in their speech and writings. and the theorists and nature explorers adopted the dead latin as the language of their craft to distinguish themselves as the most learned. in all likelihood the indian nationalist prime minister narendra modi's tea stall had its name board written in english. just go to any indian village, and you will see all its business' signboards written in, often misspelled or even in wrongly worded english. so, too, the hindi language movies' titles and credits are all written in english even though the majority of the movie goers cannot read english. it is common practice of those colonized minds to impress the local people with the english words.
scholar is a schooled person, who goes to school to acquire the knowledge deemed necessary by the royalists. the purpose of acquiring a diploma of knowledge is twofold: to earn a living, and then to party talk to show off one's acquisition of tidbits about things one's peers did not yet know. however, being unable to speak or read any language does not mean one is ignorant. the school syllabus consists of materials often times acquired by the scholars, who were told or shown things by the illiterate locals. the anthropology and pharmacology have thus benefitted the most. these illiterate locals knew things in terms of the relevance of things, and assimilate or not be concerned with the unnecessary knowledge interfering with their attentiveness required in life's motions in an uncharted realm of nature. they had no need to know even the name of a place they were not going to.
as the number of schools and scholars grew, there arose the keen competition among them to lure the unsuspecting learners eager to have their share of the slice of bread. the phd (piling up high and deep) became the prime requirement for obtaining a position, and then the "publish or perish" became the guideline to retain one's seat in front of the chalkboard. and publish they did, self publishing, materials plagiarized or ghost written, writings that are attributed to the famous names. it is no secret that the presidential speeches are the products of the team of speech writers, and rehearsed before delivering. and even then, there among the unsuspecting audience are placed the hired applauders to prompt the cheering.
it is never possible to grasp the expanding field of knowledge in abstraction, even if one had all the means and methods at one's disposal, and all the wakeful time free of the work to sustain one's living. the knowledge of the imperial mode is codified in letters. it matters not how much of whatever knowledge one has accumulated when it comes to the hard reality of the changing winds generated by the brute force of usually the singular minority. a hitler or a mao or pol pot, who could herd those thus far comfortably sitting in the ivy league towers to soil their hands in the farms, not that the force was necessary to create a classless society. and now there is the menace of the islamic state. thus far all battles and wars are fought to implant the language of the victor upon the defeated. for, it is only through the language that an ideology can be codified in terms of the customs, culture and the law of the land. the shape of the islamic mosque and the picturesque arabic script may remain the same, but no islamic cleric has rejected the living amenities improvised by the western commerce.
with the internet available at the fingertip, the young are more informed about things than their teachers did/do. its effects upon the prevalent mode of learning makes it out dated, except in the state and education board members' minds. they had been instructed to know the word and the thing called 'mind' as a noun for an object, like a box in which the words and their meanings are stored. it makes the word's noun form as a memory box; and schooling was to memorize all that was poured into the mind through the ears and eyes on the printed words. this mind was the mental form of the hidden crevice in the wall or a jewelry box in homes where people stashed the valuable and money. this private holdings of the wealth gradually was transformed into the safe deposit vaults and savings accounts in the banks operated on commercial basis. internet, too, is a means to make money for the providers like google and microsoft.
with the computer/internet the corralling of the defenseless children into schools for the minimum of 12 years becomes unnecessary. instead, just teaching them the use of computers to find out the pertinent information thus far stored in the internet, and available at the tip of the fingertips frees the nature given wonderful organ of knowing the relevance of things as a necessary element in the evolving nature.
but in either case, whether stored money in the savings account or words of knowledge piled up high and deep, has no relevance unless used. a million dollars deposited in one's account in bank, that one is never going to withdraw is as good as not having it. further yet, the very notion of storing anything for the unknown future is the product of a learning designed by the foreign powers, who being intruders needed more of everything than the locals to maintain their haloed hold. the state levied the local kings, who taxed the landlords, who in turn got the lease money from the renters, or the portion of the farmer's crop. the educational establishment, too, is set in similar hierarchy, a chancellor or a tutor, all get paid from fees from students.
all this was working well for the royals until the notion of democracy popped up. this democracy is thus far a word in the dictionary defined as the people's rule, or 'of the people, for the people, by the people.' but since the royal mindset can never vacate its seat of power it is so much used to, what students are taught are the new words or the changed meanings of the old words. the 'president' in place of the king; 'first lady' for the queen, the fortified and more luxurious 'white house' outdoing any grand palace.
the physical habits are stronger than the spark of one's awakening so neither mao nor pol pot soiled his hand in farms they subjected others to. the only way the physical conditioning is given up is by being put in alternate physical reality, imposed or self-imposed to be broken like horses in captivity, or in self-realization. and, it is a known fact, that, no matter how spoiled a pet dog, if laid free will over a time revert to its natural instincts; or well fed house cats do still kill millions of birds out of old instincts. it makes rather the cynical sense why there is the compulsory education from the age 6 to 16. there was never the need for that many years to spend in getting the verbal knowledge even in times before the computers. it is made compulsory for the children of the imperial mindset, so that these many years spent in the forced sitting in the classrooms makes their physical limbs and organs to behave similar to the captive animals with the subdued instincts, which can be channeled in the horrible acts of violence promoted by the authority, state or cultural, religious. the mi lai massacre, the nazi gas chambers, the burning and lynching of the negros, scalping of indians, and the gang rapes and killing of women in india or the beheading of the people in islamic states.
those who are sitting high up, the presidents, prime ministers, c.e.o.s, chancellors, popes, and even the leaders of counter revolutions directing the battles sitting safely tucked away in unknown locations are not eager to a change that takes away their current positions and the cushy retirement perks. their concept of education is not for the interests of the next generation. it is simply to perpetuate the system that is unbeknown to them is widening the gap between the ideal and real. ideal not being ecocentric real can be made to appear real as the staged performance. and every actor knows that what one protrudes is only to sustain one's living. what an actor does not know is the difference between the knowing and the knowledge in relation with the time-motion-living factor in the dance-like motions of life, thus an actor who played gandhi in an epic movie, then also played roles of not aware beings.
the young of all specie learn things from their elders, as the 'school of fish' suggests. but neither in silent language of the mother fish nor of the parent pair of birds is there the twitch of tail or the click of beaks to tell their young to mimic their parents. nor is it possible, for neither in water nor under a fallen leaf awaits the worm positioned in rows like the cans and packaged foods sitting in the supermarket shelf to be picked up in robotically same manner of performance.
and the education is meant to condition the physical bodies of the young to act robot-like in all walks of life. when everything is packaged, and every package comes with instruction, the living itself becomes a packaged deal, directed as actors are, or automated as robots are. it is not in the interests of the teachers and directors to change the set motions; it is in the interests of the young to not do things as their adults do. that also means that the young will have to refuse to play the roles of the teenagers of the affluent society.
and a sister corita had realized:
"there are no rules for leaping into the new because no one has been there before."