Many of us talk to children and discuss matters to them in both serious and fun manner. Therefore, we all know that many of the questions we hear from our random conversation with them are also mostly the unanswered curious questions we still have in mind as adults, echoing and still knocking on the doors of our perception. Well, this is where our philosophical self starts to unfold itself, to us and to the world: childhood. For most of us adults, we know within ourselves that existential questions by children are totally significant but we often like to think of them as trivial, illusory, and “childish matters” because we are afraid to hear the answers.
But no matter what, we cannot really deny that we as adults still asked the same questions a child might ask such as how old is the earth, what is really the purpose of life, why do we die, why do we live, why do we dream, why do we breathe to live, how do animals perceive things, what is really a soul, do ghost really exists, etc. These are the few examples of haunting questions that we shared with our young members of the society and that we also tried to sweep under the floor mat because they make us uncomfortable and sometimes, anxious. People often shut themselves in and focus on their job to turn off the volume and numb themselves, eternally chasing the reward from the system instead of discovering more answers.
But today the question is, does philosophy still matters in schools that are for those coming from poor families and communities? Do these important philosophical questions have a chance of getting answered or entertained in public schools? Poor majority should have access to this subject so that they too can participate in maintaining the purpose of society that caters individual and collective growth. This is very vital for each of us to think through and experiment in life. Unfortunately, public schools in many places of the country have very poor facilities and this is not really helping students become smart in both reasoning and problem solving skills, therefore, do not really help them become strong to excel in life. This is a dilemma.
It is sad to think but nowadays philosophy seems only alive in schools that are quite expensive and are occupied only by students coming from parents who have higher income. How alive, we don’t know yet. But compared to the average majority, those who can afford expensive schools are the ones who have access to the best kinds of these literatures in the school library, better education, to music, information, etc. And also, children who come from poor family background might not have the same interest as the children who come from a well-off background for the reason that their parents don’t have time for these matters due to work and so growing up, they were not oriented to this kind of family affair.
This is also true in choices of movies and TV shows. It is more likely that children in families who can be considered “well-off” are probably the ones who have better choices compared to its so-called “poor” counterpart. What I mean by “better” is that they are the ones who tend to have interest snd familiarity in more aesthetically and philosophically crafted works; to the types of film which are more intellectually arousing and engaging to many. These things can also be explained using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. People have to make sure they have something on the plates first before they express concerns to other matters on their lives. This is why poor people are more likely to have less interest on such matter. It is difficult for a hungry person to philosophize on life without securing the bread and the wine first.
But even though this is true, we must also put in mind that we can still do something to create little changes on this issue and try to make things better. The best thing to do is first, support our younger generations in gaining back the interests in philosophy through promoting it back to schools, in art avenues and other omportant social spaces. Also, we need to allow access to important philosophical thoughts through making it available in libraries anywhere in the country. We don’t have to teach them with complexities. This will help our culture re-think and reflect on things that would provide solutions to our current social and environmental problems. Therefore, we must pay attention to what our younger generation might say and must try to take a look at their imaginations and curiosity so that we can help them by motivating them and supporting them in exercising their mental capacity to contribute to the betterment of humanity through philosophy, arts, and aesthetics.