Wojciech Musialik               
Wojciech Musialik
Education and upbringing of children

“Those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world usually do.”  Steve Jobs


Let me touch upon the subject that I have been dealing with for a long time amounting nearly to 30 years. It was a time when my first child was born and I took care of its upbringing and education. I myself was surprised why the above thought occurred to me. I’m not a humanist after all, and I would like to be regarded as a scientific mind. However, after a longer analysis, I realised that it was one of the problems which I had to deal with.

I became an egoist.  

Can egoism be positive?


I was raised an altruist. It had both positive and negative sides. It influenced my scientific career negatively. Most frequently than not, unbeknownst to myself, and sometimes even with pleasure, I handed my scientific ideas and solutions over to people who used them to build their own careers or material status. I would like to open a new chapter in my life and egoistically help young scientific talents in developing their intellect, career, material status, and to contribute to the growth of my company, thereby developing science.  


This is a purely egoistic approach on my part as I show above. Unfortunately, I won’t live forever. I have put a lot of effort into my work. It cost me a lot of sacrifices. I chose such a path myself. I don’t want it to be lost after my death. This feeling accompanies me here and now, and after my death it won’t mean anything to me. Egoistically approaching the subject, I want to develop a system that will enable me to enjoy what will be after my death presently. Let’s live HERE AND NOW, as it’s what was given to us. No one has any proof what will be after. We’re creating the promised paradise now. The role of creating Eden was entrusted to scientists, those scientists who have responsibility within themselves for the fate of our civilisation, planet and universe. I would like us to start building the paradise lost together. Sadly, the current development of civilisation has a negative impact on the intellectual development of individuals. We’re equipping young people in the spoils of civilisation on a massive scale, thus forbidding them the possibility of developing their own minds. Few individuals standing out are creating more and more perfect technological solutions. They are used by masses of unthinking homo sapiens individuals, giving them tools for taking over political power and subordinating brilliant intellectuals to them. Owing to this, civilisation is rapidly taken over by individuals of low intellect with a strongly developed leadership factor who hold scientists by the throat with a strong arm. You might accuse me of putting forward theses and failing to present evidence. Doesn’t the evidence present itself in our global politics?

Short-sightedness, avoidance in perceiving destructive actions, fear of loss of position, prestige, giving up, and, in the end, the fall of civilisation are only some of the negative characteristics of many scientists and intellectuals. Is this what you want to lead to?

I began with my own children.

It is said that people learn from their mistakes. One might agree with this, however, the further part is: “you don’t have to learn from your mistakes.” As to the second part of the saying – I don’t entirely agree with it.

My reasoning was quite complex. It began with the fact that I’m an observer of the environment, in which I live. This translates into undertakings that make my life, the life of my loved ones and the society easier. I am, or should I say was, of a very vivacious nature. With years, I’m gaining life wisdom and stabilisation. While a student, I wasn’t interested in education that was offered to me at school. Everything consisted in receiving knowledge. I’m writing here especially about receiving, not gaining it. The educational system offered me ready solutions to problems without having to arrive at them. Cramming the knowledge received and applying it according to the schemata given was murderous work to me.

I was rebellious and defiant. I wouldn’t have won my teacher’s sympathies with such a behaviour. However, despite it all, I was still polite and well-mannered. It is my grandmother who I must thank for such upbringing, who came from a very good Lviv house.  In addition to all that, she was a good mathematician, that is a scientific mind, originating from the circles of professor Stefan Banach. It resulted in a thread of understanding between us. Let me return to learning from my mistakes, however.

Mathematics could have been my favourite subject at school. I like solving puzzles, but so what if first they derived mathematical patterns for us and then we were shown how to apply them to solve a schematic task. All the patterns had to be learnt by heart, and the procedure upon solving the task memorised. A boring reproduction of mechanical actions. Can learning be conducted in another, more attractive way? For sure, yes.  Before I describe the approach to teaching my children as practiced by me, let me cite a quote opening an article about Lviv mathematicians:

The Scottish Café, the Scottish Book and prof. Banach

 “Mathematics matters! Teaching mathematics can be attractive and modern. It is important, however, to combine knowledge with experience, to awaken creative and open thinking.
It is worth starting with teachers, as it is their role to develop students’ knowledge and skills, inspire and awaken interests. We want to present new methods in didactics of mathematics, global trends, directions of thinking that are worth implanting in the school. What is also important is the role of a parent, that they know what they can expect from schools and how they can aid the education process of their child. And, finally, there are students, in whom one ought to nurture their natural curiosity and desire to explore.”

Solving the task from the end.

What would happen if one was to solve a task from the end? Let’s define a problem first.  Let’s enter it into our Scottish Book. Next, let’s write what we offer in exchange for solving the puzzle. The role of the teacher will be to delicately guide the students. In the era of unlimited access to knowledge via the Internet, finding the solution won’t pose any problem. What will, however, happen if we cut off the access to it as the source of sole knowledge, leave mathematical tables, mathematical books and other literature with a series of encrypted riddles leading to the solution of the task? And maybe the students’ collaborative work will lead to the solution in another, easier way?

It is with pleasure that I will use the quote from Stanisław Mazur, a colleague of prof. Banach. Mazur studied at a university, but he failed to obtain the title of Master of Arts. Obtaining a doctoral degree took him six years, whereas habilitation – four. Before, he didn’t feel like it. The students frequently heard from him that someone in the world solved a mathematical problem, and that their solutions covered several dozen pages of print. “This actually seemed a bit difficult, but Banach and I we knew the answer already back in the year... however, we did it this way...,” and he wrote on the board a dozen of lines of transformations. “As you can see, this, in essence, is so easy that together with Banach we found the thing unworthy of publishing.”

Those were the times when the organ, which is the brain, was frequently used. In history, this period was called Belle Époque – a beautiful epoque. Presently, owing to the development of science and computerization, our civilisation should make a giant leap into the future. However, this isn’t happening. I think that I don’t have to explain the causes of that.

Revolution in education or the fall of intellect?

This question we need to answer ourselves. Unfortunately, currently about 70% of the society doesn’t understand this rhetorical question. If at present we could ask such a question during a referendum, supplementing it subversively with a couple of words: “Do you choose revolution in education? or do you choose the fall of intellect combined with ‘boozy parties every weekend’?,” the majority would choose the second option. I can only hope that the hypothesis put forward by me is wrong.