Saturday, March 10, 2012
Does education make you a better person?
In my house growing up, education was a prize attribute. We were all encouraged to study hard and go to college. I read a lot, enjoyed learning and now generally make friends with people with similar values.
But it's very easy to get caught up in the belief that more education = better. That people who have more education have more value in society. And, conversely, that people who aren't educated are worth less.
It's an easy trap. People who are able to speak eloquently about a variety of subjects, who have mastered logic or a variety of languages - they dazzle us. And if you have a strong background in liberal arts, spelling and grammar mistakes are cringeworthy.
But, in truth, morality and education have very little in common. I can be a professor in philosophy and still be an asshole. I can have multiple degrees but be a deadbeat dad. I can speak a dozen languages, but never talk to my elderly parents.
And poor people have shown consistently to give more to charity than those with means, who are usually more educated.
It doesn't take smarts to do the right thing. Sometimes it takes a good upbringing, but that can mean as little as having parents who teach you right from wrong. Even if they are penniless, they can still be menches.