The Ying-Yang of Society

The hardest part about being in college is to keep motivated until graduation. As students we must not lose hope even if it means taking on student loans. If we give up we usually end with a debt to pay to the government. Who controls education in a country? Culture has a bigger impact on education than the government, depending how you look at it. How you perceive education will vary from country to country. In ancient times education meant survival. The more you knew the better chances you had. Nowadays graduating from college “guarantees” a job securing your survival. Have we lost the desire to learn to be wage earning citizens? What happened to our innate curiosity? The less you know, the fewer questions you will ask.

As a kid I asked lots of questions. I wanted to understand the world around me. Why is the sun in the sky? What is snow? Thinking back on it, my parents may not have enjoyed it as much as I did. Sometimes they did not have all the answers for a five year old. And that`s the reason why I want to receive a proper education. In order to contribute to a greater good I have to educate myself. One day I asked my grandmother and mother a question. When you grew up as a kid, how did you learn? Surprisingly they had distinct answers to the same question. What difference did their responses have? Their culture. My grandmother grew up respecting whatever her parents told her even if it was mistaken. My mother inherited her knowledge but also received the education that my grandmother did not have. “The sky is blue.” My grandmother just accepted it. When my grandmother passed her wisdom to my mother, a clash of culture and knowledge happened “In school I learned that the sky is a reflection.” my mother replied. 

The force that has more influence on education is the government. However, technology made knowledge more accessible to the public, spreading among different cultures. Technology has become analogous with education and knowledge. A person is influenced by what he has access to. If technology is prohibited or inaccessible; how can he learn? Through family, community, the country`s collective knowledge, traditions and popular culture, all of which are influenced by the government. Knowledge can alter the culture of a society in a few decades, it can also provide more opportunities to the citizens. The more educated a society is, the more it progresses. The ying-yang of society, education-culture, if your culture has a lot of knowledge, they will balance each other out. If not education will barely exist and culture may overshadow education.

In present times, educating yourself may be considered a luxury. In ancient Greek it used to be free. Today a paper tells others what “you know”. In cases it`s worth more than real knowledge. Studying helps you realize your true potential. It allows you to expand your horizons and bust out of a single country perspective to a universal view. A Puerto Rican writer called it “Insularismo”, which meant having an island vision. For us Puerto Ricans the world does not matter outside of our little island. As a U.S. territory, if the government`s priority is the military, budget cuts in education, health and social services will clearly impact all areas of society. This is why the greatest challenge my generation faces, as of today, is to receive an excellent education without drowning ourselves on student loans. Besides a book is cheaper than a gun.