The Basis of All Understanding

I am a firm believer of the goodness of the human spirit- in certain rare instances.  But for the most part, I have seen a few inconsistencies that really erk me.  And these inconsistencies can be seen in certain fields such as the educational system.  Before I dive into this pool of hopefully eye-opening insights and revelations, I want to give you a few stories that might shift the skeptics reading this to my point of view given in the title for this article (above).

Imagine yourself as a leprechaun (stay with me here) in a vast land full of other leprechaun’s each looking for his or her own source of gold to live the life of leprechaun happiness.  If you (by chance) stumbled across a pot of gold in some obscure field in which others had not thought to look, would you really tell others if your success depended on you being the only one to have knowledge of this location of gold?  Think about this for a while because this is a pretty big question. Now, if you had said that you would tell others, you are a very good person from a very rare breed.  For the most part, people would not take this route because their success depends on others being unsuccessful.  It’s a sad way to think about life, but can you really think of measurements that aren’t made in comparison to something else.  I encourage you to make a valiant effort (and then pat yourself on the back after you don’t come up with anything) because if you find one, it will probably not be too important.  Think of all the measures that are important in determining one’s future in our world: GPA, credit score, gross income or rank in various fields.  Try to think of the number value of these things in isolation- it would almost always be a complete waste of your time.  The value of one dollar would mean no more than the value of one neva (a currency I just made up).  Not to be too philosophical, my point is that one would not be likely to reveal an idea-even if it would better the world substantially- or change the functioning of a current “system” if that idea is a sizable source of their success- especially if that success is in the form of money.

The leprechaun scenario applies to any situation: business, education and any field that involves competition in general.  It’s almost a natural way of life.  But my fear is that the knowledge that one particularly fiendish individual finds could potentially disadvantage the masses in ways that allow a handful of individuals to manipulate others by exploiting a lack of understanding.  The understanding that I speak of is very necessary.  Even though its absence doesn’t cause physical death, the lack of this avenue of understanding limits one in his ability to protect his own welfare (by knowing how to reason about logical truths). And how far can one advance in a society if he can’t even protect his own welfare from a potential verbal threat of manipulation by others .  The understanding is so common and so important that even certain “higher institutes” have given it to their employees in order to ensure that they are fully equipped to accomplish their job.  If this understanding is so important, why not teach it to children at a younger age- and put everyone on the same initial footing?  These types of moves would allow everyone to have a basic basis of intelligence from which the hardest working individuals could move forward- as they should in any society. By now, you should know that the “basis of all understanding” that I am referring to is deductive logic.

There is also a claim that this type of understanding (ie deductive logic) is based on natural intelligence- that it can only be attained from the innate ability one has at birth.  And some might believe this because they have been blessed with certain innate abilities which they did not work for but just happened to be born with.  And I can see how one could easily fall into that trap, but whoever said that just because one is weak in a talent that it could not be improved?  And preferably improved in the way that one might improve a muscle through exercise.  If anyone ever told you this, you might want to consider this person as having little knowledge or being genuinely dishonest.  If you don’t believe me consider that often when one imitates the moves of others, you might find that you almost gain the same skills and awareness which they do.  In other words, not every skill or strength is as natural as it might be portrayed.

So if you want to attain these skills, I encourage you to use the internet to your advantage.  There are answers out there, and the same intuition that led you to find this article could also lead you to those answers you are searching for.  And for goodness sake, please don’t go up to a smart person and belittle them for not sharing their “secrets”.  The same knowledge that is accessible to them is accessible to you.  You have to consider that this person could have been just like you and wanted to improve himself (and then took the initiative).  They are under no obligation to tell you anything.  They got to where they are because they sought knowledge- and they got their reward.  Remember, beggars can’t be choosers.  Do not go and ask someone to tell you what they use to succeed and expect a real answer.  You’d have a better chance of them telling you their social security number.  The whole point of this article is for you to know that you can actually improve your talents in certain areas and also that you can protect yourself via the particular form of understanding I mentioned above (again, deductive logic).  The point is not so that you can succeed over other people.  If you are searching for that, then I suggest you continue on your search.  Now it’s up to you to determine the path you choose.  Please, make it a good choice.

Cheap Education for the Masses

Matt Damon taught us all a powerful and maybe somewhat surprising lesson in the movie Good Will Hunting- you don’t need to pay half a grand for a good college/upper level education. You just have to be a frickin’ genius (I kid, I kid).  Through a bit of research and ingenuity, one can gain an education all on his own.  There are several avenues that one might follow to do this-some more obvious than others.  First, the library (or any other source of books) should become your best friend- or at least a close second. Also, sites like Scribd and have tons of FREE information originating from books with outdated publisher copy rights.  Lastly, one can use research papers to get a view of where certain fields are headed and how their moves might impact society as a whole.

No matter what your friends might tell you. The library is a building of knowledge. Although I doubt that it will be any use until one actually gets into high school, I strongly believe that accessing your closest library will be the first step at advancing your education.  One can find a wide range of books that span from Shakespearean literature to quantum physics. Also- as mentioned above- there has been a new surge to provide published text on various sites.  This can be especially noted with Google Books. Also, there have been attempts to rent books at lower prices to the buyer.  Even the high-priced educational power houses have jumped on the band wagon as can be evidenced with MIT’s Open Courseware.

And for all you psychology, biology, nerdology folks out there, one can easily find freshly published and FREE research articles via organizations like SparcEurope and DOAJ.  There are also usually databases provided FREE for students currently attending a university of some sort.

There are plenty of resources for absorbing knowledge at this point in time.  And it is fully up to the reader whether he or she is willing to actually open up to them.  And by this I mean, make a big MicroSoft Word list and save links under different educational fields of interest.  This will make the gathered information seem less overwhelming and more accessible.

At some point, people might ask themselves why the hell they would waste their time to go the library when they have nothing to do? Well, let’s think of it this way.  I don’t care what anyone tells you.  For most of the given population, if you want to make more than $35,000 a year, you need to go to college.  Your first job will be based on your success in college.  Most people in these down times absolutely depend on internships out of college that eventually turn into PAYING jobs.  If you look through an algebra, calculus, chemistry or any other book (not take a paid class…just use the book) ahead of time (preferably over the summer), seeing that material again 3 months later will be nothing to you.  When you take the class during the school semester, you’ll burn through it because you’ve already seen it.  Even if it was hard the first time, things will seem pretty easy the second time around.  You will basically have a head up on everyone in the class. With that free time, you could actually do something fun during school (or get a job and make money). Have fun guys.