Education is a must. It delivers the light in the midst of darkness. It enables us to see the world as it truly is, which empowers the mind to think intelligently, to create a different and new society, a compassionate and progressive culture. Or put simply, it’s the wholeness of life, the entire process of living. It’s a steadfast commitment to question the mores in order to grow and uphold our freedom. It can’t be memorized or extracted from a book. And it merely doesn’t end with a college degree, be it a bachelor’s, a master’s, or a PhD. For a true education is a lifelong crusade, which inspires us to dream — rather than exist.
In order to contribute to our community, and hence, the world, we need to develop the fundamental skill set during our formative years. Once we are able to proficiently read, write, and calculate, our learning capacity should gradually evolve, growing more complex, more intuitive, and more discerning. Not only should we possess a general knowledge of our social and physical environment, but we need to comprehend the focal elements of who we are intrinsically.
Alas, this isn’t the case for the world at large. The majority of folks remain oblivious, notwithstanding their coveted degrees. They’re still obsessed and wildly consumed with their image, status, and so-called security. Look no further than the U.S. Congress. Instead of passing legislation to promote the welfare of the commonwealth, these inept politicians will squabble and gripe amongst each other, wrangling for power, position, control, and supremacy. Their conduct resembles that of a soap opera, or worse, a sleazy reality show. But the scandalous drama extends beyond the government.
Might I remind you of the Great Recession. Oh yes! During the late aughts of the 21st century, the folks on Wall Street, the seemingly educated, hijacked the economy and nearly destroyed it with their insatiable greed and venal mentality. Such corrupt and vile behavior is rather unbecoming of an educated being, wouldn’t you agree? Thereby, our so-called education is severely flawed and grossly deficient. Anyone with a trace of intelligence will concur wholeheartedly.
If we are earnest about a solution, we need to address the truth as it pertains to our education. We must acknowledge the fact that a thorough education transcends the university. It’s immeasurably more than learning a discipline; and yet for many, education is merely diluted to a branch of study like practicing medicine. Though being a doctor is a noteworthy feat, if he or she exploits the system for financial gain via malpractice, would they still be considered — educated people? Of course, but to a minimal extent. Their total education is inefficient as a whole; something profound is tragically missing. And it won’t be found in the university.
When I think of intelligent folks throughout our history, I think of Mandela, Maya Angelou, Aung San Suu Kyi, Jane Goodall, Audrey Hepburn, Socrates, Alfred Kinsey, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Malcolm X, Michel Foucault, and the precocious and soulful Anne Frank. These well-developed individuals had fully engaged in a comprehensive education that was guided by life. Their maturity and growth as enlightened human beings had little to do with the college experience.
Nevertheless, it is important to remember that the university itself is a valuable institution. It can provide us with the knowledge and skill set to do what we love, which is life-altering on a myriad of levels. Yet sadly, very few people will study a discipline that invigorates their soul. The majority will settle. They’ll prudently choose a major that is predicated on the money. Thereby, utilizing college as a means to financial security — rather than an opportunity to revolutionize the mind.
As a consequence, the college institution by and large now functions as a back-up plan. The vast majority of parents will espouse the following refrain to their children, “You can do whatever you want, but make sure you get a college degree…as a back-up plan.” Alas, college for most is merely a path to material comforts as oppose to ingenuity and inspiration. Therefore, mediocrity is rife. It’s a global pandemic pertaining to job quality and work morale. Without the impetus of love, innovation is impossible.
In the end, is college necessary? Well that depends on your love of the game. If your enthusiasm derives from being a doctor, a teacher, an engineer, or a scientist, then the path of college is obviously imperative. However, if your childhood dream is starting your own business like Russell Simmons, Bill Gates, or John Mackey, then going to college could be somewhat of a hindrance, a barrier to your imagination. But regardless of the occupation, be it blue-collar or white-collar, education is essential — and to limit its horizon to a mere university is incredibly shallow.
Drawing by David Hose
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