An Inherent Value

ElenaShe wished to attend one day school. She wished to become like almost all the other children she knew. But her family prohibited her to do so. No explanation was given to this decision that could seem different than the traditional way a person might take to progress in life. She never knew how to sit on a pupil’s desk, never saw a board full of numbers and letters that symbolized abstract concepts. Never heard an enraged teacher scolding a disobedient classmate. She missed what most of the people consider childhood is. Remembrance might have left a deep emptiness inside of her. Fortunately, it didn’t.

Once she grew up, no matter what her age was, she never remembered what her parents took away from her, because she never had it. As Henry David Thoreau – the American philosopher (1817-1862), pioneer of the civil disobedience conceptualization and whose essays influenced some other philosophers such as Gandhi or Tolstoy – said:“You don’t realize what you have until it is gone”.

Nobody can tell now where and when this person existed, nor who she was. Without a basic education, she was a human being and became a non-identified being by society, because her mind was empty of cultural and educational knowledge. However, the question should be: what or who stated that knowledge is synonym of the capacity to think? And why society labels people upon their intelligence? Wouldn’t it be better to do it based on one’s heart and achievements instead? We can find the answer by reading Heidegger, a German philosopher (1889-1976) who talks about the ontology of the man as a science of the being considered in itself, out of its manners and geniuosity*.

Despite her lack of education, there is one inalienable thing inside of her: feelings. She could experience emotions through her daily life: For instance, she felt excited once she knew her brother was coming back from the war. No one can bring or remove this virtue, or better said, this gift that only reasonable creatures have. And as far as the time was passing, she never broke her promise: to give herself the right and desire to love, even if she never learned what the word “love” means. This is what really defines a human person.

*Charles Malik – “Introduction”, Chapter II of WYA’s Track A Training- Human Dignity-.

– By our regional intern, Elena Yuguero Nadal – World Youth Alliance Middle East