Not many words inspire so much controversy.
It is a descriptive word that means accrued knowledge.
One may be self educated, schooled, home educated, have a field education, be considered under educated, semi educated, or over-educated.
It is often meant as a compliment.
But, it is also a subjective word and often used to insult or demean those it is used for.
'That uneducated, ignorant, fool' or 'get an education' is the modern 'polite' way of saying: You're an ignoramus.
In our self obsessed society, education is seen as a pathway to greatness.
We all want our children to get 'the best possible education', without any thought as to what type or what they will gain from it other than material wealth and social connections. Students see education as a means to an ends: It will get them a 'dream job' or a 'career they will love'. This, obviously, can be true - but it can also lead to a very real disillusionment. How many grad students change their Major study, for example, only to have to restart or change schools?
How many people really love that 'dream job' they finally land?
Then there is the elitism that our modern concept of education brings with it.
In our largely positivist academies of today, education equates to understanding the truth of a matter. This is, of course, nonsense. A catalogue of presumptions does not lead one any closer to truth than say a box of comic books, or a decent record/cd collection. It is nice to know, and fun to listen to - but truth?
Nope, sorry Prof, that is objective. It is not something we learn, it is something we experience because it just IS the truth. I cannot relate how many times I have heard, personally, very educated men make presumptions about the reality we live in - especially war - that are just so unrealistic that they HAD to come from a book and not any real experience.
What's worse is that this educated elite - who's influence is felt in every aspect of our lives from sham economics, to shitty foreign policy - are able to silence the 'under educated' masses like some medieval Pontiff. A wave of the hand and a sneer silences the conditioned peoples of our advanced culture from objecting to obvious violations of common sense and truth. The silence is self imposed (most of the time) by a fear, like some character in the children's story 'The Emperors New Clothes', of seeming 'uneducated'. Like sheep they agree! 'He must be right, look at how educated he is' etc.
These elites take an idea (again a presumption) and run experiments with our lives, as if we were animals in a lab.
Social engineering, for example, from eugenics to communism are direct products of an over educated elite.
OVER educated? 'Cannot be done' you may say. You would be wrong.
There are many people today who think that the answers to all the mysteries and wonders of life can be explained in terms of formulas and chemical acts. These poor souls have been indoctrinated by the elite. They actually believe it is just a matter of looking it up, or doing some research and paradise on earth can be made real. The cost? No matter. The uneducated (the rest of us) don't know what is good for us, in their minds. They will 'free' us of our ideas by EDUCATING us.
Re-education (prison, brian washing) camps are the mainstay of totalitarian regimes historically, and are becoming increasingly accepted by 'free' societies.
Don't feel comfortable around certain people? You need to be re-educated.
Say something in anger? Get in a fight? You need to be educated.
Think 2+2=4? Time for a re-education!
Education is important, it is essential for a advanced and pluralistic society; but it is only a tool.
Tools may be misused, abused, and even weaponized. Education is just such a tool. When held in the right 'hands' it can perform wonders. When misused it creates an elite of Theocratic proportions.
Further education does not equate with intelligence or truth, and certainly does not mean 'good'.
So? Use your (open) mind. Question all you see and hear. Try your best to be good.
And...if you have time and the inclination, get an education of the type that suites YOU best. Maybe that is a trade skill, maybe agricultural work, maybe academic studies... but, for goodness sake, don't buy into the rubbish of over educated elitists.
I will sum up (har har) this little rant with an all time favourite song by an all time favourite band that has pinned this issue down. Enjoy!