Born free, free as the wind blows.

The goal of education should be the development of free men and women. Paramount in human progression should be the recognition that all men and women are born free and that the purpose of learning should be to develop that unique quality which has been bestowed on human beings by God himself. Instead, there is the evidence that often education is no aid to the nurturing of personal freedom and even presents itself as a barrier to the acquisition of true freedom.

To be free, a man must act according to an enlightened conscience. He must withstand the pressures of society. He must act according to the truth. He must not permit any personal, family, social or political considerations to determine his decisions and his principles. He must be liberated.

Many years ago, here in Dominica, a certain man appeared in court accused of a certain misdemeanour. He came unassisted by legal attorney. This man performed so brilliantly that the judge was led to express his wonder that a layman could acquit himself so creditably in a court of law. He asked the gentleman why he did not use his intelligence and learning to carve his own destiny in an honest fashion rather than indulge in dishonest practices.

This is a worldwide problem. Those of us who watch the T.V. programme, '60 Minutes', are often brought face to face with the manner which some of the best educated people and some of the most intelligent use their knowledge to act dishonestly and increase their wealth by corrupt practices. Sometimes they are not guilty of any legal transgression but merely take advantage of loopholes in the legal system to indulge in immoral practices.

Even in our own country, while many have been brought before the court for simple, unlawful activities, many have escaped the so-called long arm of the law by skilfully and judiciously performing their illegal practices. The result is that moral standards in society disappear and people even tend to be full of admiration for those who feather their nests and make outstanding progress in life.

The irony is that although all men and women are essentially born free, they have still to be liberated. They appear to be free. But to be truly human, a tremendous task has to be undertaken to make them truly free. And few there are who embrace it.

We come into a world which is not quite as the Creator desired it. In many ways, it has gone astray. It is corrupt. As such, it is not an enviable society. It is often an enemy to all that is good and loving. It limits the freedom of men and women. In fact, it often discourages the exercise of interior freedom.

In the world, there is greed, uninhibited search for pleasure and the craze for wealth and power. These are the dominant influences. And any educational system which does not involve this consideration and bear it out to students is grossly lacking in purpose. There is the wanton manipulation of innocent and unsuspecting people. Ideas and principles are often determined by those who control power in society. People have a fear of offending those who are at the helm.

There are certain desirable qualities that are often lacking in people. Gross insecurity often characterizes those who have wealth and power. They use their position to bolster their image. They place themselves above their fellow-men. They cannot accept being challenged. They cannot stand criticism.

A truly liberated man does not succumb to such weakness. His interior strength of character causes him to transcend the lowly attitudes of his fellow-men. He does not see criticism as a threat. He is able to take valid criticism in his stride. In his humility, he knows that we all do falter and are in need of correction.

After Nelson Mandela became President of South Africa, on one occasion, Archbishop Desmond Tutu publicly criticized him over a certain issue. When they met each other, Mandela told him, "You don't have to criticize me publicly in that way." Then Mandela laughed, as if to say, "You know I don't really mean that." What a liberated man!