Men of Enlightenment

Bayu Seto

Education is crucial to enable individuals to have better life. That’s why people try to attend the best school in their own region to get enlightenment. To see how education can enlighten life, learning from great educators is very effective. Aristotle, John Locke, and Ki Hajar Dewantara are three of various educators who provided the world with brilliant thoughts in education. This essay describes these three figures and their legacy in the world education.

Aristotle who was born in the city of Stagira in Northern Greece. His father, Nicomachus, died when Aristotle was a child, and he was brought up by a guardian. When he was seventeen years old, he joined Plato’s academy in Athens and remained there until he was thirty seven. After Plato death, he left Athens and established a library. He wrote hundreds of book and papyrus scroll. His thoughts was very influential, especially in the physic, philosophy, geology, poet, biology, astronomy. One of his greatest legacy that we use up to now is the Aristotelian logic with its types of syllogism.

The second, John Locke, was born in Warrington, Somerset, England at 29 August 1632. He was an English philosopher and physician, and is widely regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers and commonly known as the “Father of Liberalism”. His thought was very influential in politics and religious tolerance. His very famous idea is governmental separation of powers and believed that revolution is not only a right but an obligation in some circumstances. This ideas greatly affected the declaration of Independence and the constitution of the United States.

The third figure, Ki Hajar Dewantara or Raden Mas Soewardi Soerjaningrat, came from Indonesia. He was born in Pakualaman, Dutch East Indies, in 2 May 1889. He comes from a royal family in Pakualaman, and his grandfather was Sultan Pakualam III. Because he was a member of royal family, he could attend ELS and STOVIA. But he could not finish his education in STOVIA because he was sick. After that he became a journalist and writer in some newspapers. Beside that he was an activist who made propaganda about the importance of unity. But he was ever captured and sent into exile to Netherland. In 1919 he returned from the Netherlands and in 3rd july 1922 he built Tamansiswa school to provide opportunities for everyone to get education. When Indonesia get her Independence, he became the first education minister (September 1945 – 14th November 1945). He died in Yogyakarta at 26th April 1959.

These three figures are people who enlightened their own era, and their ideas still influenced today’s education. They are some of the prominent figure who make a difference by bringing light to an era where the world is in chaos and darkness. The world today has different kind of darkness and chaos. To make it better, educational ideas that can help the world better are needed. We might not able to create great ideas like these figures, but at least we can apply and emulate their ideas to develop ourselves and the society around us.

*Thanks to the author ofA Lesson from Six Great Autodidacts: Learning is Good, Schooling is Bad that inspired me to write this essay

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