Searching for the educated

By Dr Khalid A Al-Saleh

“The educated hold a positive image in society.” Educated individuals typically communicate with a refined language, carefully selecting words that reflect a cultivated taste. Culture isn’t merely about the quantity of information one possesses; it’s about how much a person’s senses absorb from that information. The Arabic word “thaqafa” is defined by the Arabic Language Council as encompassing everything that enlightens the mind and refines one’s taste. It aligns with the Latin origin of the word “culture”, which conveys the idea of a farmer caring for and nurturing plants to help them grow.

An educated person, therefore, is a disciplined individual who has the ability to nurture their ideas and share them for the betterment of society. It is from this admirable image that the positive perception of the educated arises. Many aspire to be honored with this description. However, due to human nature’s impatience, some educated individuals may not cultivate knowledge (which is culture) with the necessary patience. At times, their knowledge may distance them from true culture, resulting in a lack of discipline and arrogance, which contradicts the qualities associated with the educated.

An arrogant person, whether male or female, does not fit into the educated category. Conversely, a knowledgeable individual whose wisdom enhances their humility and love for people is the one whose knowledge leads to education, benefiting society. The closer an intellectual and knowledgeable person is to the people, and the more they use their knowledge to serve society, the more educated they become. Often, culture is not solely tied to formal education. Many educated individuals worldwide have steered their societies towards progress without receiving extensive academic education.

Their education stemmed from personal endeavor, unhampered by obstacles. Today, culture is not contingent on wealth or social affiliation. Many affluent and well-connected individuals lack education, and spending time with them can reveal their shallow intellect and lack of discipline. In contrast, the educated find it challenging to engage with them for extended periods. One of the significant challenges faced by developing countries, including Kuwait, is the desire of affluent and influential individuals to infiltrate the cultural sphere.

They invest money and exploit media to project themselves as educated, often without success. Their actions tend to corrupt the cultural landscape and distance society from genuine education, negatively impacting societal development. A society with a substantial number of educated individuals tends to be vibrant, with ideas freely interacting, and viewpoints gradually converging over time. Conversely, when a society sees a surge in individuals claiming to be educated, disputes proliferate, views diverge and the society becomes fragmented, making it susceptible to division. In Kuwait, we seek out the educated, and the greater their number, the closer our society draws together, reducing differences among us.

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