The True Meaning of EducationBy the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan | Last updated: Apr 20, 2012 - 8:32:31 AM
[Editor’s note: The following article contains edited excerpts from the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s address of the same name at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, Alabama on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 as part of his college speaking tour. Click here to order this message in its entirety on DVD and CD]
In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.
I am so happy to be here at Alabama A&M University. Alabama: You have a great future; you just need to be prepared for the role that God intends to carry out. With the time that we have, I want to talk to you about “true education” that will give you “true preparation” for your future.
What are we learning? How are we using it?
I came across an article written by John Hope Bryant the other day on my iPad which raised the question, “If Bill Gates Were Black.” Mr. Bryant wrote: “For much of the past century, African Americans pursued social justice through government intervention, the ballot box, and ultimately elective office. While the number of black mayors and elected officials in this country is impressive, the number of black entrepreneurs is not. As a result, job creation in underserved communities, and among the Black middle class, is stagnant.” I think he has a point, don’t you?
Mr. Bryant continues: “The main driver of freedom in the world today is not the vote but access to capital. When I speak of capital, I obviously mean financial capital, but I also mean the Latin root word capitas, or ‘knowledge in the head.’ …” When someone is de-capitated that means their head is cut off. Well, from the word capitas you get “capital”—which is rooted in what you’ve got in your head.
So that is why “education,” the proper education, is so necessary, because if you don’t have the right knowledge in your head, you will not be able to do what God intended for us to do!
True education’s root problem: Hypocrisy in religion
Dear brothers and sisters: I am a Muslim—but I am also a “Christian” and a “Jew.” “Now Farrakhan, how could you be all three? You must be confused…” No. When you understand the root of being a Jew, being a Christian, and being a Muslim, it is the same.
What is a “Jew”? A Jew is a person with a special covenant relationship with God based on their obedience to the laws, statutes, and commandments of God. What is a “Muslim”? One who submits his or her will to do the Will of God following the noble example of Muhammad ibn Abdullah, The Seal of the Prophets. What is a “Christian”? To be a “Christian” means to be “crystallized into oneness with Christ” through following his example. As Jesus was “one with The Father”: If you are “one with him,” you are crystallized into that unity with him! Then you can call yourself, as a “Christian,” “the body of Jesus Christ.”
But how many real Muslims are in the world today? How many real Christians are in the world today? How many real Jews are in the world today? I’m not trying to “blaspheme,” but the hypocrisy in religion must end. Having a “cross” (“Star of David” or “Star and Crescent”) on your neck, or looking “sanctimonious” when you go to church (synagogue or mosque) doesn’t make you a “Christian” (“Jew” or “Muslim”).
Do you know that there’s no church, no mosque, no synagogue more valuable than the human being? Did you know that the Ka’abah at Mecca, the Basilica at Rome; and the fine hands of man that have made these magnificent structures: Not one of them is equal to the Handiwork of God, which is this magnificent human body. This body is the real House of God, but you have to let God in His House!
“Well, how can I let Him in?” Open your ear to His Word, because He’s coming in through The Word. Once you let The Word of God in the ear, and it enters the heart, then He begins to change you in accordance with The Word. That’s how you become a true “Christian,” “Jew” and “Muslim.”
Who is determining our ‘diameter of knowledge’?
Brothers and sisters, you have to admit that somebody has lied to us about ourselves, about God, about Jesus, about religion, and you’re really confused. That is why Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” The question is: What truth will set us all free?
White people suffer from the false notion that White skin makes them “superior.” And we, Black people, suffer from the falsehood that the blackness of our skin makes us “inferior.” So we’re bowing to White Supremacy and manifesting Black Inferiority.
Look at all the “B.S.” degrees that we produce: When you master the same so-called knowledge, yet come out of school unproductive, is that why they call it a “B.S.” degree? You have to understand: “He who gives you the diameter of your knowledge prescribes the circumference of your activity.”
If you’re in kindergarten, they teach you what you should learn in kindergarten. What they teach you is the “diameter” of kindergarten-level knowledge; and when you get it, you can accomplish certain things. When you’ve accomplished that, you then go on into primary school where there is the diameter of primary-level knowledge which prescribes the circumference of your ability to act. Then, high school; then you go on to college and you go in a Master’s Program and get a “Ph.D.” degree.
Now when you get your “Masters” and “Ph.D.,” that diameter of knowledge should give you a sphere of activity that makes you a productive person in the world! So let’s now examine our “productivity”: How could we be “free,” and we’re asking White people to give us a job? I want you to think about this, because if that is what you came here to get education for, I’m so sorry. They don’t have enough jobs for themselves and their millions of unemployed; so you would be foolish thinking that you’re going to come out of here and they’re going to give you a job.
You’re telling White people: “Treat me as an ‘equal’! I’m an equal; treat me like that!” Well, I don’t know about that. See, if you’re really “equal,” you should be able, with equal education, to do for yourself and your people what they have done for themselves and their people; also, what they are doing for us and our people.
You have to be qualified to be “equal”; and you have to be free in order to make yourself “equal.” So you are not yet free: You are enslaved by what you call “education,” which is “training.”
True Education: Its ‘meaning’ and ‘purpose’
How many of you are studying for a degree in “Mathematics”? Too few of us … Those who become proficient in math are “the builders” of the world. So those who are pursuing a degree in Mathematics: You all are looking to be builders of something. The question is: What?
How many of you have a discipline in Science, Physics, Chemistry, Biology or Bio-Chemistry? See, as we get into “Engineering”: Chemical, Aeronautical, Civil, Mechanical, etc., the numbers of those studying it are also too few. But how many of us are studying “Psychology,” “Sociology”? Well, you better get another discipline because that doesn’t work! … You are not learning what you need to learn to deal with the minds that are being produced by today’s reality! You can’t handle it with this pseudo knowledge.
How many of you are in “African American Studies”? Imagine how you’re going to parlay a degree in “African American Studies” into some meaningful employment. Who cares what you know about “African American Studies” if it doesn’t lead you to be more productive in life? Jews don’t learn “Jewish History” in school, they learn Science and Mathematics! They learn to be masters of everything that they touch—yes they do! And they approach everything that they touch with the mind of a “master.”
If you, I, we, are made in “the image of God,” then we can be qualified to master any and every discipline. But you don’t approach those courses like Mathematics, Science and Engineering with the mind of a “master”; you say, “They’re too hard…” so you opt out for these little, small courses that will give you something you can just hang on your wall.
But when you leave college, the question is: How productive will you be for your people?
What is the meaning of the word “education”? It comes from two Latin words: A prefix educo or educare, which means “to lead,” or “to lead out from.”
Did you know that God has given to every human being a Gift from Himself? There’s not one human being that is not gifted from God! But “education” is to lead the Gift out; so that what is within is manifested, is developed, is put into service for the Glory of God. So many of us live and die without ever realizing the Gift that God has given. We can sing, dance; throw a basketball, football; run fast—that’s wonderful. But that is not your purpose in life.
“True Education” is an education that develops and cultivates the human being. And when you’re truly educated, you’re cultivated from within. Then when it comes out, and the world sees The Gift that God has given you, then you become The Glory of God.
Agriculture: The Engine of Civilization
Alabama A&M: Agriculture is “The Engine of Civilization.” When you don’t have good, strong agriculture, somebody else is feeding you. And as long as our mouths are in the kitchen of our former slave masters and their children, we are at their mercy.
Here in Alabama, we worked the plantations. And some of us are still on them. Some are so angry with what we suffered as sharecroppers that we don’t ever want to see the land anymore; we don’t want to farm anymore. We run away from agriculture. So even though this is an “agricultural” institution, only a few of us are studying this subject.
Brothers and sisters: Take your Bible that you have, and open to the Book of Genesis. “In the beginning,” it says, “God created the heavens and the earth; and the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep,” right? And God said, “Let there be light.” All this wonderful creation that God did—everything He did, He said: “Ahh! This is good.” Then God created “man.”
But what was The Aim of God in producing a “man”? The scripture teaches: “And there was no man to till the ground.” Here was Earth, but no man to “cultivate” it; no man to look at the riches in it; no man to bring the riches out of it to put it in the service of self and others! So God said: “Let Us make man in Our image and after Our likeness. And let Us give them dominion over the fowl of the air, the fish of the sea, and every creeping thing that crawls upon the earth.” Boy, this is heavy scripture!
So what was the first “job” that God gave man? He gave Adam the commands of “multiply,” “replenish the earth,” “subdue it,” and “dress The Garden.” What was the religion that God gave to Adam in The Garden? If you think that he didn’t have a “religion,” yes he did. The religion in The Garden is the same as it is today: “Obey God.” He told Adam “what to do.”
We’ll start with God’s first command to Adam, which is “multiply.” Well, we know how to do that; we’re doing that quite well with all the children we produce… But let’s take “multiplication” on another level: When you learned multiplication, there was a multiplier, a multiplicand, and a product. So when God instructs man to “multiply,” do you know that by nature you are a Producer? So you come, and God has gifted you, and the world is here: So you and I are to draw from the world what God has created, put it into service for ourselves, and then become productive human beings!
We are at the time in history when we are going to have to do something for ourselves, or suffer the consequences. So I want you to look at what you’re studying; and I want you to look at it carefully. If it is not challenging you to do something that will make you a contributor to The Rise of our people, then stop right here and say, “I’m going to change my focus.” Because when you come out of this institution, agriculture will be needed.