My Dad had just purchases a history book. It was called “A Patriot’s History of the United States“. From what I gathered about it, it seems to be a conservative alternative to “A People’s History of the United States“. Anyway, he was really into this book, spending a lot of his free time reading it, finding a new hobby since football season is over.
My step-mom was chastising him for wasting his time reading about things that happened in the past. She stated how it was boring and never changed, so what was the point. He retorted that she spent all her time reading celebrity gossip magazines like OK! or People, and that was a waste of time because she had no connection to these people. Basically both people were saying “what you are reading doesn’t matter”.
I think these two arguments represent two types of people in society. I think there are certain people who continue “learning” because they simply like knowledge. Every few hours my Dad (despite my obvious eye rolling) would come up to me and excitedly repeat some fact he learned from his book.
Why? Did he gain anything from it? No. I think he values education. That is not to say my step mom doesn’t. She is educated, and not by any stretch some ET watching bimbo or anything. In fact, her mocking of my Father shocked me because she pushes my step sister so hard to do well in school and focus on their studies. She does value education. She might even push my older step sister to go get her Masters. However, it is how she views or values education’s purpose that is different. She views education as a certification or an opening of a door. Almost like a skill, or learning a trade. She pushes her daughter to be nurses because they can get jobs that pay well.
So, is that really “education”? Or is that learning a trade for a job? I take a more liberal arts view of education (see here and here), that knowledge itself can be the end goal and not simply the means. My Dad’s passion for history is the same. It doesn’t gain him anything, but he finds value in it. I think being a well rounded useful member of society requires you to expand your mind and experience new ideas and concepts.
What is your definition of education? Can a person be simply “get an education”? Does that end with graduation? Am I being elitist by looking down at certain hobbies as less intellectual? Do you do anything to strive to learn something new, or do you feel like you have a firm grasp on what you need to know and just try to enjoy yourself?