In a figurative speech or in a negative connotation, we have heard “peeling the onion” means dwelling deeper and deeper into a cause or an event or exposing the true characteristics of a person. It is like the ‘turning a page over’ or simply PTO that we are used to while reading a book or novel. We are keen to know what remains at the end. This is the general nature of human mind to be curious all the time to know what are the next steps and how do we move forward.
An onion gets rotten if we allow it too long in the basket. We peel it layer by layer until it is good to be cut and used. Sometime it is so rotten that we cannot even use it for any good. Humans wear multiple layers of skin as we grow old, but our basic characteristics that were formed at our cognitive years of learning and growing do not change entirely during our life time.
The skin of innocence that we wore in childhood gets shed as move into adolescence to get into another skin. This is when we form our strong likes and dislikes in worldly matters. Years pass-by, we become more matured ( rather we think we are) and start pursuing our beliefs and disbeliefs. A strong character emerges here that eventually shape up who we are and why we feel we are less important or more important than others. Just like an onion turning rotten is a slow process, these strong beliefs and disbeliefs turn dormant in our inner self and reflect our true character. We expose this character to others in our words and actions and those in turn invite positive and negative actions from them. Conflicts in views and actions often the result of conflicts in characters of people involved. Wars are fought by leaders and not by people, for the right or wrong cause. Even when people do not want a war, the society or the political set-up has given their leaders that liberty to wage a war against a cause they only believe right. This belief is precisely a reflection of the true character of leaders. Similarly, societies get into turmoils due to the action and inaction of its leaders and what we see today around us is hatred towards one another or group or a religion. We have seen many of those long standing friendships or partnerships turn sour when friends or partners start seeing the rotten left over in a peeled onion. Divorces happen, siblings disagree, neighbours quarrel, team members fight with each other, political parties accuse each other and all these because the rotten stuff is exposed.
In our ancient way of education, the relationship between a Student and a Teacher was that of a knowledge giver and a knowledge seeker. A knowledge that was imparted in such a way was never aimed at creating hatred and intolerance but at creating harmony and to live a righteous path. A teacher of those times, peeled the skin of the student layer by layer to make him feel what was good for him and why it was so.
The education system that is practiced today has mostly failed in the above aspect of a student asking what and why. It is just preparing him to memorise what is taught to him by the teacher and pass an examination. There is no attempt to make a student intuitive or creative to deploy his mental, emotional, Psychic and spiritual thinking abilities. Let us bring those elements in our methods of teaching.