Earlier this week I was talking to a dear friend who was lamenting about the down stream effects of not knowing your history. This then evolved into not valuing education. I know that going to an institution of higher learning is damn expensive. Definitely more than it was when I was in school over 25 years ago. In the last several years I’ve seen schools pop up that are more along the lines of trade schools. They are good in that they are able to provide training to get individuals into the workforce quickly and get them earning decent wages without the hefty price tag of a 4 year degree. But I can’t help but wonder are we missing something be doing away with teaching the humanities. I may be wrong, but the schools focus on teaching their students a trade or career, not how to process information from various disciplines.
Now, I’m not saying that a 4 year university is the be all/end all. It’s not. College isn’t for everyone, but I do feel that education is. Some of the most fascinating people that I have ever met were self taught, and continue to do so. Unfortunately, modern society doesn’t embrace that. We don’t applaud the people who want to step beyond their station and expand their minds. We call them elitist for wanting to learn about the world outside of their front door. It is so sad, too. I see the decline in intellectualism and the embracing of willful ignorance… and frankly it sickens me.
One of my favorite teachers gave me a brass pitcher for a high school graduation gift and she included a card. I still remember what it said to this very day. She wrote that the pitcher represented my mind and my thirst for knowledge and to never let it fill up. Those words had a major impact on me. I want to learn all the things and want to do all the things even though I don’t have all of the time or all of the money. If my curiosity of the world around me makes me elitist, then fine, I am. But I would rather be called an elite and still learn about the world around me than to be willfully ignorant and miss the adventure that’s just outside my front door.