What is education

by Christian Kurmann

Because we are constantly seeking, our days are filled with activities which are usually neither purpose-oriented nor meaning-driven.



Too often we feel empty: status quo, position, image and prestige cannot deliver purpose. In today’s global environment, we must teach and inspire young leaders and executives to live and work without comparison – this is actually true knowledge transfer.

Comparison is degrading and limits our outlook. Young leaders need to learn to look at situations almost from a beginner’s point of view. It is our ingrained belief, our first impulse, to compare ourselves with others and put high expectations on ourselves relative to others. No wonder there is an everlasting struggle to be something other than what we are. In fact, the understanding of what one is, of who we are, uncovers creativeness.

To the contrary, comparison breeds competitiveness and ambition which we are so very much convinced is progress, when in fact this renders division within any system.


Is it possible that can we find courage to trust ourselves and others, to accept a different education, allowing for a radical change in our mind set?


Perhaps we must ask ourselves these questions:

Why do we educate ourselves and others? Why are we educated at all? What is an educator? Is it possible that education should be something else other than transferring knowledge and skills? Could it be possible that true education could mean comprehending oneself as opposed to amassing information? Is it comprehension that we acquire from self-knowledge, as self-knowledge is in fact self-awareness of our psychosocial progress?

Arguably, what we presently call education is an accumulation of knowledge and information. But now we wish to call this into doubt, because while such education offers a subtle form of escape from ourselves within each system, it creates increasing misery and conflict. These sorts of conflicts and confusions result from our own wrong relationships we maintain between people, teams, groups and organisations. We must understand that such relationships that involve ‘gathering’ and ‘acquiring’ various skills for seeking more, seeking higher and seeking better only lead to useless chaos and destruction of the system, increasing inequality.


We must ask ourselves this:

Why are we preparing ourselves to conform to society? What kind of purpose do we want to find in life and work? To truly educate ourselves as leaders would be learning and living virtues that give meaning to life and work, virtues such as courage, clarity, compassion and consciousness.

What we need now is not to keep storing information, skills and experience, but rather an education that cultivates our inner selves, an accumulative freedom (as opposed to accumulative information) that becomes a whole new process in our mind.

In other words, if we are hurt – emotionally, mentally or even psychosocially – does this accumulative process not take place simply because we don’t pay attention it? Is this real education, which is not a conditioned effect of any experience, since our mind is no longer conditioned? What are managers and executives and their teams educated for anyhow?

True education requires caring, consideration, deep thinking and good will – patterns we often neglect. If leaders and executives in leadership development and talent management take a real interest in their employees, their superiors and their teams, all will have confidence that they are guided, coached and mentored for the sake of the organisation.

Hopeful leaders and executives in leadership development cultivate a community for nurturing future leaders. This requires patience, consideration and good will. We must understand that maturity comes only from comprehension – and not from information accumulation, nor with age, wisdom or even experience.

Christian Kurmann