Friday, March 26, 1993

Written for my English 101 class that I took at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah.

"Ignorance is Bliss." someone once said. But then Socrates said, "The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance." I wonder who's right. Even though both ends of the education spectrum have their advantages and disadvantages, it is that which leads to fullness of mind and spirit that is most important.

Sure, one does not need an education to be happy. My father has a seventh grade education and has led a happy and productive life. What got him through it though was the little amount of education that he did receive. Seven grades is better than nothing, I guess. So perhaps we should change the opening statement of this paragraph to "Sure, one does not need a complete education to be happy."

Statistics are very clear. A person who graduated high school is going to make more money than a drop out. A person with an Associate's Degree is going to make more than a high school graduate. Bachelor's more than an Associate's, Master's more than a Bachelors, Doctorate's more than a Master's. Everything's relative.

You can probably tell, it's hard to compare an educated person to an uneducated person on an economic level. But an education does not make one better than another. Both types of people have the relatively same capacity for learning. At one time, Albert Einstein was not educated. Even when he went to school he flunked out of math. Today we know him as one of the greatest geniuses of the 20th century, if not all time. He understood the need for an education and had an interesting approach to the whole process. It was he who said, "The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible."

From a more personal standpoint, I understand the need for an education through the eyes of the military. Specifically the United States Navy, of which I am a member. Ten years ago, one could drop out of high school and join the Navy, perhaps enlisting in their apprenticeship program. Five years ago, you could drop out of high school and join the Navy, but only after you got your GED. Today, you can't join the Navy until you graduate high school. Unless you enlist in the Delayed Entry Program, like I did, where I joined when I was seventeen on a promise to graduate. Ten years from now, you won't be able to join the Navy as just an enlisted man(An E 1 Seaman Recruit like myself) without an Associate's Degree. The reason for this is because the Navy is becoming more and more high tech with every passing year. All the state of the art technology is almost immediately brought into application in the USN and they simply wouldn't trust that type of equipment in the hands of a high school drop out.

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

. . . Arthur C. Clarke

What I'm getting at is the fact that an education can only help you. It sure doesn't hurt. Oh, maybe the process might seem monotonous, you may have a lousy teacher and you might even flunk out of every school you go to, but if you retain any knowledge from the overall experience, that's a plus in itself for you in the real world. Just being exposed to new ideas will give you a broader understanding of the way people from other cultures think and act or even people from across town. It will give you the tools with which you can find a common ground and establish meaningful dialogues to take you into the future together.

I feel I have made it very clear that in this day and age, you can't make it in the world without an education. So even though ignorance is bliss, it's also poverty and a recipe for spiritual emptiness.

BOY: Teach me what you know, Jim.

REVEREND JIM: That would take hours, Terry. Ah, what the heck! We've all got a little Obi Wan Kenobi in us.

. . . TAXI

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