About Education

images My last post about education was almost three years ago.  As my wife and I are mulling about moving my daughter to another class next year to avoid the “bitchy and unpopular” teacher who will be handling her class, thoughts about education hovered in my brain again and prompted me to revisit the subject. Parents are certainly concerned about their children’s education but in this part of the world, not having a college or university degree is not tantamount to a death sentence, where a person will wallow in poverty for the rest of his life. In other countries higher education has been commoditized, a requisite to landing a dignified job. It matters not whether your brain really has it or not as long as you have a degree to show for.  Failure to possess it is akin to not making it across the bridge to survival.

It is little short of a miracle that modern methods of instruction have not already completely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry…. I believe that one could even deprive a healthy beast of prey of its voraciousness if one could force it with a whip to eat continuously whether it were hungry or not… Albert Einstein (1879-1955) U.S. physicist

By the time we learned to communicate with fellow humans, we have been brainwashed into thinking that education is a “must have” to survive in this world of ours.  Sometimes our parents and other societal factors other than our innate talents and desires dictate and coerce us to undertake a discipline of education which is not to our liking. Those of us who have no enthusiasm for higher learning and prefer to use their bare hands to pursue the noble vocation of being tillers and builders are equally subjected to the same encumbrance, of achieving higher education for the sake of achieving, to fullfil the rite of passage. Overfeeding of superflous knowledge can disorient or dampen a person’s spirit and can diminish his desires for things he really craves to do. It is tragic when education destroys rather than motivate.

The great aim of education is not knowledge, but action.  Herbert Spencer

Sometimes I ask myself whether the full face value of my knowledge today is the product of spending 18 continuous years of formal education or the product of my maturity – the progressive education I obtained through years of on the job training and experience, self-initiated reading and research to satisfy my curiosity and achieve competency in my chosen field of endeavor, inter-action with the real world, not only on how things look on paper but how they really work, behave and affect people’s lives. There is an inseparable correlation between theory and practice and education cannot be complete if either one is missing. Much like a Marine who undergoes a rigorous, excruciating training but hasn’t gone to war, the image of a warrior isn’t quite complete.

Your Education is worth what You are worth.

The aforesaid quote can be complemented with this quote to make it a bit more comprehensible “It is possible to store the mind with a million facts and still be entirely uneducated”.– Alec Bourne. In the end, what you really are is the testament to what you have made your life with the certificate etched in a fancy animal skin you worked so hard to acquire. What we are worth can be measured in both quantitative and qualitative terms. People with higher education have inflicted more collective misery to society for all we know. “A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education he may steal the whole railroad.Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)” As such we should not be too keen on praising the quantitative results of higher education. I would also be remiss if I don’t address the other end of the totem pole. What is the point of acquiring higher education if you intend to clean houses, cook meals or baby sit other people’s children? Would you call this the qualitative reward of education? What is even more absurd is when you see the Pinas government brag about the “highly educated “people it exports to do these menial jobs. This is the crucifixion of education which is the result of the progressive deterioration of societal values as the result the failure of the government in addressing the social and economic needs of the country since its independence. “The principal goal of education is to create men who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done. Jean Piaget (1896-1980) Alas, the former and present leaders of government, despite their illustrious credentials seem to have failed in understanding what education really means and are teaching the present and future generations their rotten ways and nothing more.

No man who worships education has got the best out of education… Without a gentle contempt for education no man’s education is complete. G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936) British author

Last but not least, what this post is all about.

Fountain Of Youth

images4Looking to live long ?  This video report is quite surprising.  Test on animals show that those fed on a restricted diet for years looked healthier and less stressed. What also surprised me in the printed article is that one of the 9 indicators to a long life is higher education.  I don’t think those CEO’s with Ph.D.s sitting at the helm of bankrupt car companies are sleeping like babes and having fun right now 😯 I would debate this unless the author alludes to education as a means for the pursuit of enlightment. As one saying goes” He is to be educated because he is a man, and not because he makes shoes, nails and pins. William Ellery Channing (1780-1842)” Eating less to live longer seems to contradict the butterball and bearish image of cigar chomping Sir Winston Churchill who lived up 91 years and the likewise cigar chomping, comedian/actor George Burns who reached the century mark. These two cigar smoking iconic figures are probably exceptions to the rule but I can appreciate the idea of eating less to live long. My dad was one person who wasn’t too fond of meat and sweets, never liked liquor and shunned mayonnaise his entire life. He passed on at 87.

31 Responses

  1. this reminds me, sa pinas nga daming college graduate pero wala namang trabaho.

    • Sadly, we are creating more college graduates more than jobs that require college education. There is a huge disparity in supply and demand.

  2. Education, while important, does not really guarantee success. I know of many successful business people here who have never even stepped foot inside a university, or if they did, decided not to go through the entire process. They succeeded — inspite of the lack of fancy diplomas — through grit, determination and hard work. Now those are lessons that you do not get from a regular classroom inside a four-walled structure, but from the wide world outside it. And it’s called, the school of hard knocks.

    Oh, you forgot to mention Deng Xiao Peng, who lived to the ripe old age of 92 despite his two-pack a day habit.

    • Conversely, I have seen people with higher education who haven’t done anything with them. I had an uncle who was an exchange student in the US after his graduation but because he had very poor people skills he couldn’t hold on to his jobs. He returned to the province to teach at a high school which didn’t last long. He ended up a middle man – wheeling and dealing with auto and heavy machinery parts, making cuts to earn a living. He was a total failure. His family was supported more by his working wife.

      Two pack a day ? Ugh. Deng must have lungs of steel 🙂

  3. More often than not, a high EQ and not IQ is needed for one to succeed in life.

    As regards living longer, my lola is 95 years old and she loves to eat cholesterol-laden pochero, lechon and pork adobo. She’s still very lucid and can still walk albeit slowly with the help of her cane.

    • So true. I have seen people who have very poor emotional intelligence such as my uncle in my post to Snglguy. I’ve also seen people who are so narrow minded, that the world for them is either black or white and can’t seem to connect with others.

      Last Sat night I was at a party hosted by a family friend and we talked about this topic ( I always discuss my post with other people – of course they don’t know about my blog 🙂 ) and one of my buddies said that the reason why people grow old in the province is because they eat fresh food, devoid of chemicals and additives. There seems to be a lot of truth in it methinks.

  4. I remember the old yet very intelligent generation wherein success is not guaranteed by how long one stayed in formal school. Still holds true today, but because of the competition the diploma serves as a stronger bullet. There’s this issue about the mentality though that without finishing college, their dreams end there. “Bitchy and unpopular teacher” – they thrive eh?

    • Competition in education in Pinas is always won by the haves, because they have the money. Elitism in education has plagued the country and those who are educated in non-elite schools become bottom feeders of the bunch.

      Re the bitchy and upopular teacher, many of the parents we know had already requested the principal to move their kids to another class. The teacher is loud mouthed and tough and that’s why she is unpopular.

  5. I agree that a formal education doesn’t guarantee success. What makes success possible is one’s passion for what he/she does. A person really needs to love what he/she is doing in order to achieve meaningful and long-term success. Once a person loves his/her work, the money aspect of it will sort itself out.

    A formal education is worthless if one simply goes through the motions of attending school and graduating in order to simply have a degree. Some people earned their degrees while others simply got them. There’s a world of difference between the two.

    • I agree with you that there are those who got their degrees and those who really earned them. People forget that what they learned becomes obsolete 10 years after they graduated from university ! Those who succeed in their chosen profession must have passion and not be content being in the payroll.

      There is a big difference in “what you have done as opposed to what you did” in your previous job.

  6. Fascinating “Fountain of Youth” report. I like how the reporter describes Joe’s diet as “rabbit food.” hehe. No cake and chips? Who wants to live long if there are no cake and chips? 😉

  7. Kaya I’m a proponent of holistic method of education. It’s a concept based on multiple intelligence and the students are allowed to concentrate more on their stronger points. Einstein is right. Nakaka walang ganang mag aral pag pilit na ipasa-ulo ang ‘sang damakmak na information na wala kang interes o di kaya hindi magagamit sa tunay na buhay.

    • So true. On another note, the other side of the coin : The govt of Ontario years ago abolished Grade 13 which was required for university entrants. People complained that the extra year was too long for the kids. At Grade 13 you have to get certain credits to pursue a discpline , i.e. you have to get sufficient credits in math if you want to pursue engg or science degree otherwise you wont be accepted by the unievrsity. I thought this was good because it matched the student’s aptitude towards the discipline. It might be your dream, but it is nice to know if you have the aptitude first so you avoid failing and save time.

  8. It’s in business where you can become wealthy without the aid of a BS or PhD. Heck, my late mom was a “no read – no write” but excelled well in business, thus I’m here commenting, hehe…
    Just arrived from Northern California where I visited my 7month old grandaughter and two nephews who are now both dentists (31 and 32 years old, singles still). I tend to brag about these two since both are just talented and getting an education was a breeze for them.

    A 97 year old Japanese doctor who is still active, proclaimed he drinks coffee and milk as part of his
    daily diet and been eating less daily.

    But, who wants to go over 90 kung ulyanin ka na rin, your kids are making fun of you but don’t get it, hehehe…

    • There was also Matthew Barret who became CEO of Bank of Montreal and he didn’t finish college. I guess you can say that with Erap too hehe 🙂 Hey, good for your nephews. They’re all set and should’t have trouble finding a partner I suppose 😉

      Right on – no sense in living up to a hundred if you’re like a baby. I think this is what the scientists are working on, extending man’s age to 100+ years but not sacrificing quality of life.

  9. By the time we learned to communicate with fellow humans, we have been brainwashed into thinking that education is a “must have” to survive in this world of ours. >>> so true.

    i like herbert spencer’s quote on this. in the Philippines, a lot of people still have this mind set. so students just study as they are obliged to finish their course but not really having the desire to love studying as it will help them move and act when they start working.

    • Nothing wrong to think about a degree as accomplishment but you don’t study for 5 years, hang your certificate on the wall and be content to tend your parents’ sari-sari store and brag to everyone that you are a degree holder. Inaction after obtaining a degree is like wasting 4-5 years of your time!

  10. i think getting an education is entirely different from plain going to school.

  11. I like the quote of the week. It’s funny and true at the same time.

    My eating less has to do with looking good, for now 😉

    • I liked the quote too. Believe me I’ve seen people who behave that way 🙂

      Good for you. High self esteem is always good for anyone 😉

  12. I have a feeling that all we really learn from school are the fundamentals and nothing more.

    Eating less with healthy food is fine but we also need excercise. They say red wine is also good for health.

    • They say schooling only supplies us 10% of what we really know.

      Exercise is a must because it is part of the maintenance of our body and makes us stronger. When I visited Italy, I was told that people lived a lot longer in the Chianti region, an area noted for its fine wine.

  13. I was just watching a show (cant remember if its dateline or 20/20) over the weekend about the downfall of GM. They were interviewing factory workers, those making cars for GM. At one point a laid off worker said he was making 60,000 annually. Something like what a doctor makes (I don’t really know how much a doc makes but just for the sake of comparison a college grad). Now they realized that it would take a college education to survive in this economy.

    Despite the fact that lack of college degree here in America not hindering the pursuit of a job (if you’re not picky), I still think furthering one’s education either through college or thru vocational school is a must to make one more prepared for a career.

    • They make as much as 60 bucks an hour which is more than 60K per annum but not quite close to what doctors make. There are blue collar jobs that pay really well and it is not an absolute must to get a degree to get a good job. In fact, many employers here aren’t too keen on hiring someone with a bachelor’s degree for a job that doesn’t require it. But you’re right, a degree is good to have.

  14. 60 Bucks an hour? I’d like to apply for that job 🙂

  15. interesting material, where such topics do you find? I will often go

  16. So true bro. Education todays is somewhat so commercialized and tainted by other motives other than true learning and significant knowledge.

    Humanity should look back and rethink its behavior on this, education today.

    • Nowadays parents encourage their children to educate themselves with professions that pay the highest. It is tragic when a person’s sole motivation for education becomes the financial reward. Einstein has echoed this in his essay “Why Socialism”.

      Higher Education should not be a burden to a country if it manages it right. The first step would be to recognize the dignity of labor and compensate people fairly for the jobs they do, esp the blue collar ones, paying them salaries up to par with living standards. Unfortunately, Pinas has failed in this, resulting in the emergence of what we call diploma mills.

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