Many intelligent and successful people did not go to university, or dropped out. And yet most parents want their kid to go, and surely for good reason.
Never having gone, I don't know much about it. So chime in, you: assuming sufficient money and intelligence is there, who should go to college and who shouldnt? (University... college... it's rather confusing.)
Final Identity brings up:
"Another point is, that education is not -- and should not be -- about employment, but about self-growth and enlightenment."
Yeah... Nobody is bigger on those things than I am. But is a very expensive and rigid education really the place to get them?
And will people really spend that kind of money and time for those things, for themselves and their kids?
Another thing is: is it really healthy to never try to work until you're 28?
F.I. also adds:
"So, the method we have over here has a load of weaknesses. And it's in flux -- most citizens of the USA think of "higher education" as a ticket to a higher-paying job (and that is a general truth) so they spend their undergraduate time taking things like Hotel Management rather than Greek Drama. And then calling themselves "college-educated." They aren't. They haven't read the classics, encountered cultures different from their own, learned some essential human criteria by which good and bad can be judged, mastered a foreign language or five, discovered their own limitations. They've just followed a materialist path, and college has enabled their addictions.
By the way, Eolake, I'm not surprised you're of a non-traditional type of education. Ben Franklin said, among many other maxims, that one should try to spend one's life with those of great means and little education, for they rightly think practically about the world. To him, an "education" meant a snobby, upper-class, useless type of sherry-drinking brandy-dandling thing accessible mostly to the effete idle children of the upper classes. What shocks me is that, so different as I am from that sort of person, my background and resume make me look more like them than unlike them, simply because I valued a real education."
TTL boldly goes forth with:
"I never went to University. Never even considered. What a waste of time that would have been. Instead, I spent those years studying many interesting subjects: music, philosophy, computer science, art, physics, psychology, etc. Something I would never exchange for doing hard time in a University.
The only thing I feel I may have missed not going to the Uni is the camaraderie among the students. But that hardly seems worth the sacrifice in tolerating all the bureaucracy and other nonsense.
Some people go in order to get a degree. But the degrees are only good if you want a job that is paid out of money confiscated from the citizens. I despise that kind of jobs.
In honest jobs where you offer real value to the marketplace, and where people pay you voluntarily, you are never asked for degrees. In fact, in the most high profile projects a degree is a liability. It reveals that you are not capable of thinking and studying on your own. Also, it reveals that you tolerated the University 'culture' which is a sign of lack of creativity and true talent.
Please view Sir Ken Robinson's talk Do schools kill creativity? It is one of the best talks I have ever heard. Certainly the very best on the subject of education."
Here in the UK we have a Government that is committed to pushing more and more young people into Further Education, irrespective of whether we as a society and nation need them to, or they are suited to it. 25 years ago around 5% of 18 year olds went to University, today nearly 50% go on to Further Education"
This sounds totally astounding to me. For sure I can't imagine that fifty percent of the youngsters in this town will go to college, or would enjoy it. (I live in a working class town in Northern England.) Read more of Wonko's long comment in the Comments section.
Final Identity, thank you for that incredible bit of writing. It was so refreshingly astute, and I even learned a new word, je-june:) I read that initial piece out loud to my companion Jeff, who gave it high kudos as well. Have you ever read John Taylor Gatto's "The Underground History of American Education"? I recommend it highly, though it's long. Since reading it I have never looked at the public education system (U.S.) without shuddering.
TTL, I continue to look for your comments which are obviously well thought out. Thank you for posting.
I quit college my second year to move into a Zen Buddhist meditaion center where I thought I might learn something truly of value, the true nature of my self. I was not disappointed. I went back to undergrad. and got a degree in theology which was a complete waste of time. I went on to graduate school at 37 because my life was at a standstill. Three years later and thousands of dollars in debt, I left without a master's degree feeling totally hoodwinked by the system (and by my own mind in looking for something real from the system). My most satisfying and original bit of writing had been given the lowest grades because I refused to use significant and professional "sources." My own mind was apparently not source enough.
I am now working in the public school system with kids who have behavioral issues. I refuse to be a teacher in the system, I consider myself a companion to children (though it's different on paper), helping them remember their souls through the deadening conformity of their school day. I consider my job sacred (to myself), though on paper it looks mighty humble, and I am a puzzle to my administrators, who know that I have intelligence, but why am I working such a low paying job?
I am a product of the public education system, and I believe it accounted for much of the depression I experienced as an adult. I have re-educated myself out of depression and cynicism via deep inquiry into EVERYTHING, everyone, and most notably, myself. Deep inquiry, especially through meditation and long periods of silence (for me) have yielded wisdom, not an education.
I very much appreciate this thread.