This metaphor has great bearing in the sphere of our adult life to mould us into what we are as individuals and communities. Keeping people in darkness is to keep people in fear. And the easiest way to do this was to keep people in ignorance – away from learning and knowing. Fortunately, public education in the modern era has turned the tide. In many societies in the days gone by, including ours, education was a privilege of the few; the well to do. This was a way of keeping people in fear through sustained ignorance (darkness of the mind), for those with fear are easier to govern and so it was a powerful instrument of social control, and used assiduously by autocrats of the past. It kept society segmented and divided such that it became a way of life, accepted and live with over centuries. The age of enlightenment through education has shaped to dispel this darkness, liberating the mind out of its bind, and shattering the social demarcations that held people separate, towards an integrated whole; hopefully towards a realization that we are all God’s creation and not different from each other. It was our own doing that kept us apart.
However, the vestiges of our past cannot be done away with that easily. Remnants still linger and even with increased awareness harnessed from education, mindsets take generations to re-frame and rewire. And sadly, but surely, such delays in our ecological realities are capitalized on by those who govern us, to keep us in control. The controlling instinct too is a primeval one linked to our evolutionary ecology and so for our spiritual evolution to happen, we must learn to detach ourselves from the past vestiges and be inspired to espouse our common human heritage. Even with this idea called democracy, the essence of which talks to the primacy of all human beings being equal under God’s Law, we falter -- falling back on our ecological reality that tugs at our ego strings. We see this in all walks of life, in offices, businesses, in community governance and also in leading nations.
Withholding information or being kept in ignorance of procedures or terms of engagement are tools that governors use to keep themselves apart from the governed. And so keeping people in ignorance is the key tool that keeps up this distance which the culture of governing has come to espouse as one of its most powerful strategies to keep this gulf intact. Education has in modern times forced to bridge this gap somewhat, and democracy when practiced within its essential principles of consultation, tolerance, inclusiveness and responsibility, can allay this fear that keeps us from being the masters of ourselves. It will take leaders of another caliber - immune to the vestiges of the past to make the delight of democracy emerge. Otherwise life will continue to be "old wine in new bottles" so to say.