Tuesday, May 20, 2008


We've got a high school kid at the office doing an end-of-year shadowing session, and he sent us a survey with a big blank box at the end.
it read:

What does being an educated person mean? What is education? What is a person? What is the meaning of life? (and you can't put 42)

Being an educated person means you knowing there's nothing you can do that hasn't been done, but doing it anyway b/c its important. It also means knowing how to write a good email. Education should make you a better person, it should give your character a foundation to lean upon. It should not be about the bottom line (grades or money). I know that sounds fluffy, but it shouldn't be. You'd be doing yourself a disservice.
A person is defined by how they treat strangers who look or act sortof weird.
The meaning of life...
"There's only one rule that I know of, babies-- God damn it, you've got to be kind."
-Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Aside from talking about leaning on a foundation (mixing metaphors, oops --- part of being an educated person is knowing what mixing metaphors actually is, so I was just being meta...riiiight) -- I think I nailed it.

This is one thing I'd be interested to know your, dear reader(s), thoughts on. I usually don't do the "call for comments" thing, but if you want to answer those questions in the comments, it would be so fun if you did.


GMichaud said...

It figures a young person wonders about the meaning of life.
Yes, death, first of all, seen between two unseens, what is the cause for sorrow?
Seen between birth and death.

Education is knowledge that you are the unknown, and that spirit is everything.

Life is an illusion, look at how half of the people in a stadium cry when a fly ball falls out of the glove of their outfielder and the other team wins the world series, meanwhile the other half cheers madly.
The reality is that a round object fell to the ground.
It is all in your mind.

This probably doesn't help a questioning high school student unless he is an educated person or a poet.

Lolololori said...

I think your comment was fairly accessible to anyone with an open mind who speaks the english language!

I'd argue with your support for life being an illusion. It felt pretty real when the cards won the world series. I was feeling nothing illusory. I was feeling good, man!

You sound like you've read/should read "Illusions"

SO glad you chimed in!

blythe said...

What does it mean to be educated? Y'know, I don't think anyone is ever "educated." That makes it sound like you're finished learning, and that's never the case.

I'd probably go with something Socratic. Being educated is knowing there's so much to learn and being open to learning anything. I think that's what's so incredibly appealing to me about my job -- always has been. I walk onto a ranch (girl walks onto a ranch...) or into the bowels of the airport or onto a giant fire truck or into a custom car shop, and someone tells me everything I want to know about what they do. Then I go to a yarn shop or an artist's studio and do the same thing. I listen and learn all day, and then I write a report about it. The essence of learning: Listen, ask questions, comprehend, communicate it back. It's fantastic.

Being educated means always looking for more education.

Lolololori said...

agree agree agree agree.
It always seemed like the more I learned, the more I learned I'd never learn everything. Being well educated means going on besides all that.

"Nothing you can do, but you can learn how to be in time. It's easy." !

I had such an awesomely absurd night last night at the city museum - I wish you'd been there! You would've LOVED it.

GMichaud said...

I'm not familiar with Illusions. My background is a Hindu/Buddhist (Roman Catholic) Vietnam Veteran looking for the meaning of life. Or rather waiting for the meaning of life to find me.

How do you think Detroit felt?

Marc said...

Okay, totally strange I am commenting on your journal. I'll attribute it to severe procrastination in the face of having to study maths I have not pursued in nearly ten years.
Anyway, from what I've read, the being educated means only that you know enough to realize that you know nothing. (I would attribute it to someone, but I am too lazy for any Google-fu and the name eludes me at present).
Education is a method of continual learning, whether formalized or not.
The meaning of life is to leave the world slightly better than you entered it.
Very simple stuff, but extremely complex in practice.
I mean, that's the whole point of my venture: starting a microlending and angel lender corporation. I want to help people help themselves.

Personally, I believe that continual education and change is the most important part of being a good person. However, it seems that most of us lack the leisure to be wise, and even more of us stop learning in any productive way. We become unchangeable, stiff and stuck in a life that feels comfortable or only slightly chafes.
Okay, I am starting to digress, but suffice it to say that I think that all of the questions naturally run into each other. An educated person is someone who is humble enough to realize that they do not know everything and do not have all of the answers, but more answers to everything can be found in the world, and the people, around you. A person is simply a bag of inspired meat that learns, reacts, and changes through experience. The meaning of life is to continue to change through those experiences and to never stop learning.
Do I win?

Lolololori said...

whoa marc, i didn't see your post until now! I think you've got a good grasp on these questions! They're important answers and it's good to see anyone who's really thought'em through.

Good luck with your ventures, sounds like you're doing good and making good.

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