Education for the New Generation
During Wills unexpected crash on the forbidden island of Pala we soon discover that this seemingly taboo place was full of very intelligent individuals. As Will gets patched up by Dr. Robert McPhail and deals with the pain of his injuries he is paid a visit by Susila and Nurse Radha who starts to inform Will about the great teachings of the Kingdom of Pala. What I found the most amazing about this place the high importance that they placed on education here. Not just of the physical body, but on the emotional oneness of self.
I was first drawn to the education of the Palanese when Radha described how she went to the University at age of 16 and continued till she was 24, with half the time studying mixed with half the time working (pp 73). She points out the obvious flaws that our western society has with medical training, about how fantastic we may be at putting our people back together when they start to break down but how poorly our society teaches people to go through life to avoid such disasters. Saying that we don’t do anything to teach people to really live properly and maintain a healthy system. (pp. 77)
Later on we come to the point of tat tvam asi, or “thou are That” which is the basis for all their self teachings that focuses on the experiences that are happening around you in the moment (pp. 88). This leads to the discussion of Maithuna, or “the yoga of love” which is taught to all the children that explains love as the ability to get close to loved ones and enjoy that experience of closeness without the risks or judgement that our society presents. In the western world the mere idea of teaching children about sexual functions of the human body causes so much of an uproar as to threaten to close the education system down. But the Palaneisians know that sexuality is an inherent fact of life. Radna points out how Dr. Freud stated “what we experience all through infancy and childhood, is a sexuality that isn’t concentrated on the genitals; it’s a sexuality diffused throughout the whole organism.” (pp. 90) this is the direct point Maithuna is trying to state, the bringing back of sexuality as an experience that shouldn’t and isn’t looked down on in their society, because it is indeed taught in schools as well as supported by the government through state funded contraceptives.
The way that the children lived also brought many opportunities for education through various adult role models. With the mention of the Mutual Adoption Club it goes to show that it does take a village to raise a child. With the option and availability for a child to move and be guided by more than one set of adults that doesn’t have to be related to the child. I think this is the greatest form of education that is different from our Western ideas. We are often only guided by a few individuals in our life and more often then not they are blood relatives, which I feel creates a skewed viewing of the world and passes on and reinforces certain ideas both good and bad. With the MAC it provides an opportunity to provide and see an opposing view of different problems. This type of closeness with many other people will also strengthen the community by building relationships with most of the members of it establishing a connection and bond that will bring everyone closer through “the Hybridizations of microcultures” (pp. 107). There is also another teaching point available to the adults here too. If the children leave a household unhappy because of their parents the mother and father will be approached by the rest of the community and given “tactful therapy” to help alleviate the problems (pp. 109). The biggest problem with this idea is that original bonds with caretakers could be weaker by far than to that of western view because of the idea that the shared burden of upbringing would somehow correlate to a less appreciation to biological relatives.
The Island, Aldous Huxley