Wednesday, October 27, 2010

S2:E5: Ignorance is Bliss

Recap: Education segregates
For the first time in a long time, last night there was disagreement! It was wonderful! The argument was about whether there is such thing as useless knowledge. But before I tell you what happened, let me tell you what the argument was about. A professor at Berkeley, Victoria Robinson, coined the term intellectual masturbation. She states that there comes a time when the topic in question was studied at such degree than if the attempt is made to explain it to the subjects in question, one cannot do it without using an extensive and complicated vocabulary that those subjects are unable to understand. She says that since masturbation is self-serving, then that is what certain knowledge does to those who have it. Hence, one intellectually masturbates when it comes to expressing certain ideas. With that said, during the show I tried to explain the fact that the knowledge one often acquires in college is useless in the sense that it is self-serving.  One cannot and will not apply every bit and piece of knowledge acquired simply because the society in which we exist is not an intellectual society. It is a practical society. Skills reign. While one might go to college and study four years multiple topics, upon graduation landing a job will be difficult. It is the contrast between a diploma an experience. While education will increase knowledge, it does not do absolutely anything to experience and skills. Sure, once a job is acquire it might pay more and require less actual "work," but that is not sufficient. It will most likely also be mind numbing. We cannot apply all knowledge to our jobs.
I also said that education segregates because it creates circles of people. It separates those who know and those who do not. It brings together those knowledgeable about a certain topic. One's ability to communicate with the masses, e.i. those who lack the "knowledge," decreases. There is a fine line between trying to explain to someone who does not know or never studied, so to speak, a certain topic or is not interested on it without sounding condescending and having them grasp the idea and doing the same sounding like one is lecturing this person. More often than not, it makes people self conscious about what they do not know. It makes them uncomfortable and the speaker can be so passionate about the topic that does not realize the explanation has indeed turned into a lecture.
The disagreement was in the fact that some of the viewers believe that one can in fact use at the moment our choosing any prior acquired knowledge. As I writer, I can take advantage of many things I learned in college. But I dare them to explain how the quadratic equation is applied in everyday life? How a research paper about the role Christianity played in the conquista will help me in the everyday? How will the fact that I know how far Andromeda is from the Milky Way help me? It is small cocktail talk, business meeting talk... the list is long, too long in fact. But at the end of the day, knowing these sort of things and not knowing them is what will set us apart. Actually, possessing the diploma that states that one has this knowledge, will will sadly be the deciding factor between the kind of job one has and how much one is paid.
Yet, let me say this the diploma does not really mean anything if one does not have the experience to back it up. Any company will hire someone who has ten years of experience without the diploma before they hire someone right out of college without any experience even though they have the diploma.

Thanks kids for all the comments last night. It made for a better show. Keep them coming! If you missed last night's show, it can be found here.

Coming up next:
Episode Six:
Plan B


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