Monday, December 29, 2014

Intellectualism and Education

First off...wishing you all a very happy and prosperous and New Year in, 2015 especially to all those who have read this blog so far today, in order of numbers reading from the...United States, Russia, France, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Germany, Iceland, Poland, Australia, Brazil and anyone else my analytics page didn't mention!

Now I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but I've considered myself an intellectual for decades. Though I know in some cases now a days it's considered un "PC" and some revolutions they tend to kill first, all the intellectuals. Which, I'd argue, is really stupid. When all the doctors are killed off during a revolution with fighting and shooting and the killing and all, well, doctors are a necessary thing, kind of.

Since childhood it was my primary orientation to learn about new things, to stretch my imagination, to expand my mind. Oddly enough, I just seemed stupid to many around me, mostly because of our educational system and parents who didn't have a clue what to do with a kid like me who was always getting into trouble. And asking questions.

Mostly because no one knew how to channel my needs. My mother was quite good however and inadvertently, in her being exhausted and simply farming me out to the best teachers she could find, just to take me off her hands in the afternoons for a few hours. A purely selfish thing, turned genius.

I saw intellectualism as a pursuit that is aside from ego concerns, had nothing to do with it, really. I've seen many groups over the years devoted to "intellectualism" that really should have been labeled as Ego or Social groups.

All that intellectualism was ever to me was a pursuit of the mind. And again, not the ego. Although one can't ignore the ego, one can certainly give the pursuit of knowledge a far higher consideration.

One can have an IQ of eighty (not that it's important as a number but it's a good cliche everyone understands), and still be an intellectual. It has nothing to do with how smart you are, it's just an orientation, a pursuit in your life.

I find people who hammer on this concept and those who hold it oh so dear, as again, being all about ego. Either because they have either run into those groups I referred to above, or they are themselves people to whom intellectualism is some kind of a threat; and so once again, an ego issue.

I see many people in the public eye now a days demanding to be considered intellectuals, and yet all I see in that is their ego. Or a misrepresentation of intellectual pursuits, an inability to properly navigate the pillars of knowledge among the pits of misrepresentation and illusory knowledge. Of information dressed as knowledge with people trying hard to show how knowledgeable they are, when they have a complete inability to interpret information into knowledge.

I'm sure there was a point in all this....

I guess what this is all about is that being an intellectual, it is far more important than being considered or viewed as one. Perhaps it should be a quiet and personal pursuit? So when it does come out in public it should be carefully played and deftly used. Otherwise it merely supports the generally accepted misconception that intellectualism is all about (once again) ego.

And, it's not.

It's just, not.

There is more to that, too. It's about seeing a broad spectrum of things and not just the specifics of one's trade, or the areas most needed by society.

The reason I mentioned the higher education situation is that it's important, it has to do with our future, and bettering society. Also we need as some have indicated, alternatives to college or education. An environment allowing young people to brainstorm, to learn, to start businesses.

However, having a generation learn through this type of paradigm only advances certain elements more than others, though not enough elements. The thing about liberal arts educations is it offers a broad spectrum understanding of the world.

To find one day that we have a majority of new people running things who have very specific educations is to support and pursue leaders who do not have a broad spectrum of understanding on a wide variety of issues, and at more in depth levels. Something that would lead to very different kind of society. Possibly one that will not fully consider everything that needs consideration, merely from a lack of perspective.

Obviously we need people with more specific and technical educations, but certainly not all of them and we seem to be heading that way.

The thing I never understood was what people think intellectualists are. If you are the bluest of blue collar workers, if you dig in a coal mine, an oil field, or whatever, a garbage man, there is no reason you can't also be an intellectualist. At very least, learn about your field. If you are something, be professional about it. Be the best you can be. And if you are going to do that, learn all you can about your field, and ANY FIELDS that touch upon it.

Then, you will be the best, smartest, the most safe, the most productive...coal miner, oil field worker or garbage man (or woman), or whatever, that there is. And even if you're not, you can certainly try to be and that, enhances the quality of your life, the life of those around you and you could argue, the entire world.

Typically, an intellectual might be considered to be someone who strives to know much about many things. There is however, nothing wrong with choosing a slice of that to be best at or most knowledgeable at. It is also to strive to enhance one's intellect and pursue things that increase various aspects of one's intellect, and that is up to your own interpretation.

There has been a move for some time now to fight against the more liberal arts degrees. To give up on them altogether because the corporate mindset has finally invaded our education system at a systemic level and that, is problematic to say the least.

We are at a crossroads and need to see the map and not just gaze down the road to guess at what direction we should take. Or to simply take the road nearest, or most easy to travel upon. Otherwise, this direction that we've been on for some time now, and are finally starting to understand is not the best road to take, will become the only road available to us.

It already in many ways, appears to be. But it isn't, not really. Not yet.

There is still time to do something about it. We just need to understand that being an intellectual is a good thing, and understand what that good thing is really about. And then, do something about it.

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