Beware: Be Intelligent And Reject Mis-Education

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[Beneath The Spin]

When we consider all of the problems that we have in the Black community, if anyone asked me what we are in most dire need of to resolve those problems, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second - I’d say education.

Education is the key to resolving high unemployment, because it would enable us to create our own jobs; it is the key to reducing crime in the community, because we'd become enlightened enough to recognize that simply gathering the most material "things" is not what makes life worthwhile; and finally, with the proper kind of education we’d stop worrying about what other people think of us, and start focusing on what we think of ourselves.

But with that said, it is also important to never confuse education - which I define as the science of efficient and independent thought - with indoctrination, the mere ability to regurgitate the thoughts of others. We have a tendency to do just that.

That is the source of many of our problems in not just the Black community, but society as a whole.

Our universities and various institutions of higher learning are great when it comes to teaching the science of technology - math, engineering, medicine, and other technical pursuits - but they fall far short of the mark when it comes to educating students in the pure, efficient, and independent ability to think.

"That’s why we have so many Ph.ds running around
saying things that essentially amount to, "Obama is un-American - he’s
engaged in a socialist plot to save my family."
They’re unable to differentiate between the theoretical - their
emotional, and thereby, erroneous, association of the word "socialist,"
with evil - from the practical need to put policies in place that will
promote the overall needs of the people and society as a whole."

The reason for that is, while it is true that these "highly educated" people have spent years in various classrooms, they haven’t been educated in the area of efficient and independent thought.

Instead, they’ve spent their entire educational careers being indoctrinated into embracing the beliefs of long-dead White men. Now, that isn’t to say that the thoughts of the thinkers of the past shouldn’t be reviewed, but their thoughts shouldn’t be idolized and thought of as superior to our own, which is generally the case.

As a result, many of our so-called intellectuals come out the other end of our most prestigious universities not as powerful independent thinkers, but as celebrated, but shallow-minded regurgitators of other people’s thoughts.

A perfect example of how our educational system is failing society in its responsibility to prepare the leaders in our society to think can be seen in the case of Rep. Michelle Bachmann who actually aspired to be president of the whole country.

In 1988 Ms. Bachmann received an LL.M in tax law from the William and Mary School of Law, and she worked as a tax attorney prior to entering congress. Now, I don’t know what kind of tax lawyer she was, but I’m confident that most people will agree that a deep and independent thinker she’s not.

The very same is true of not just many, but the majority of people that we accept as "educated" based on their resume and credentials alone. George W. Bush is a product of Yale.

My point is this - the primary way that the establishment manages to control and bamboozle the people is by trotting selected people out that they want us to listen to, and then offering up their resume and credentials as justification for why we should hang on to their every word.

And since most of us have been conditioned to be in awe of the reputations of the various prestigious institutions of higher learning - such as Harvard, Yale, and Princeton- the establishment can simply attach the name of one of these institutions to the person they want us to listen to, and more often than not, we’ll simply suspend all reason and critical thought and blindly accept whatever the person says.

And in many cases, even when our common sense says, "Hey, what he just said doesn’t make sense," we’ll often simply chalk it up to our not being "educated enough" to grasp the nuances of his or her position. That’s exactly how we get played.

You should never give anyone else’s ability to think priority over your own. Simply because a person has more degrees than you, that doesn’t mean that he’s more intelligent than you are.

If we take a brain surgeon with an IQ of 120, and a high school dropout with an IQ 140, while the brain surgeon may have more knowledge at his disposal than the high school dropout, he’ll never be as smart. Thus, in a situation where all things are equal, the high school dropout will be able to connect the dots much more efficiently than the brain surgeon every time.

So while we should always attempt to enhance our education, if circumstances prevent us from attending an institution of higher learning, we should always remember this - knowledge is free, and there’s just as much knowledge through Google, or at the corner library, as there is at Harvard University.

So we should dedicate our lives to obtaining that knowledge, because once we have it, it doesn’t matter where it came from. In fact, while Harvard can expose you to knowledge, it cannot educate you. Education is a solitary pursuit, so the only one who can truly educate you, is yourself.

Thus, whenever you begin to feel self-conscious over your lack of formal education, you should remember that Socrates - the father of modern thought - was a hood rat. Look it up, and begin to educate yourself.

Some of the greatest minds I've ever known
held court while sitting on empty milk crates
in the parking lot of ghetto liquor stores.
At their feet I embraced the love of knowledge,
and through their tutelage learned to
defined self-worth in my own terms.

These are the "Eulipians"—
writers, poets, musicians, painters,
and uncommon drunks—
those shade-tree philosophers who
contemplate the fungus between the
toes of society;
Who dance with reckless abandon,
unfettered by formal inhibition,
through the presumptuous
speculation of the ages;
Who live in county jails, cardboard boxes,
alley ways, and luxury Apartments;
Whose very existence exposes the scam
of Great Bruteland.

While these obscure intellectuals
stood well outside the mainstream
of academy, I’ve watched
with astonished delight as
they sang, scat and s
cribed their
philosophy into the mainstream
of human knowledge;
As they rammed forth the proposition
that thought transcends caste
and social privilege.

Bird, Malcolm, Langston, Trane –
They sang but one song,
a song dedicated to the proposition
that man’s innate thirst for knowledge
will someday overwhelm his passio
lust for stupidity.

For more commentary by columnist Wattree

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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