Education has a way of helping us find our place in this universe.
Gone are the days when possessing knowledge allowed a person to stand tall above their peers. Gone are the days when specializing in a particular area would set an individual on a career path for life.
The digital future is here, but I think it’s worthwhile to first briefly visit the past.
Plato thought we were born with all knowledge – that it was a matter of realizing, or remembering, that knowledge through discovery.
Back to the future where smartphones allow us to have access to more information, or knowledge, than we can handle, Plato’s old school idea seems far more sophisticated than our current schools that are designed to pump out factory workers while maybe allowing the exploration of interests.
Now, everywhere those in charge have even half a finger on the digital pulse of our evolving world, exploration is taking a front seat.
Factory workers are being replaced by machines. These machines are more obedient, have better tools, are less expensive, and don’t need near as many breaks as we do. This can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be.
Personally, my children are in public school. It’s a decision my wife and I wrestle with regularly. Public schools, or more accurately any schools that are less than agile, are probably not providing the type and focus of education that our youth need for the ever-evolving future.
Yet, education is far from a young man’s game anymore. Education, and the pursuit of it, has become increasingly important for men and women of all ages.
The number of careers an individual is expected to have throughout their lifetime continues to climb. In recent years, we’ve had journalists tell 50-year-old coal miners that they need to learn to code. A little later, when journalists began losing jobs, their own advice was returned to them.
So how, in an age where we have access to so much, do we discover knowledge that matters to us? How do we not necessarily get on the right track, but blaze our own trail?
We find something we love and go for it – really go for it.
Failure is a fantastic teacher. While people typically don’t pursue entrepreneurship out of poverty, turning a hobby or passion into a side hustle sets us down a challenging path, fraught with failure.
Formal education isn’t without value though.
I certainly don’t want to toot my own horn here, but I happened to earn a degree that I think will continue to be helpful for years to come. My B.S. in Freshwater Science and Sustainability is extremely generalist. It involves little bits of biology, chemistry, geology, meteorology…ecology.
There are people who will do extremely well focusing on any one of those categories. However, being able to see the relationships between all of those sciences and the overall big picture has changed how I see the world and all of the niches it contains.
I was formally introduced to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave in college. His allegory deals with how we act and respond to what we perceive to be
While closed environments do have limited carrying capacities, humans are not limited to a single region. We’ve spread throughout the planet and we are on the verge of becoming an interplanetary species. There’s room for us all.
You just need to find your niche.