These thoughts were inspired by a diologue on BBC Radio 4 last friday.
the area being discussed was that of understanding technology, not so much how to use it but of understanding how and why it works.
The point that was made was that what sort of information(and from there we derive education) and how much was needed to live a happy and fuffilling life. Did you need to know how you video worked, or do you only need to know how to start it and stop it.
This started me thinking about education and what we are taught.
With the proliferation of information and information sources, shouldnt we be taught at school, how to learn, where we can find information and how to make use of it.
The information we are taught at school is normally wrong, outdated or both. The most important things that schools teach is English(or the language of your choice) and Maths. English so you can communicate well and maths so you can model reality. The rest of the subjects you learn are just history of one sort or another, the history of how someone previously used varients of maths and English.
School should be where you are equiped with the tools of learning and the desire to learn.
When you have these tools and this desire then you should be allowed to make you own choice of how educated and in what areas you become, but more importantly than that you should have the freedom to learn at whatever pace you desire.
basically I believe in the right to be free of mind, not to be constrained by what a government or tradition has decided should be my education. I believe in the freedom of information, people should have the right to learn whatever is known if they so want.
But the most important thing is to have the right to remain ignorant.
The right not to be forced to know how a microwave oven works, the right not to care about the differences between a Rembrandt and a Piccaso.
Our place is in society is defined not by how much we know, but by how little. Ignorance is not just bliss (ie by knowing nothing, nothing can worry you) its also valuable often when problems are found and solved its not by people who know that there are problems but by those who dont, and so are not constrained by them. This is the foundation of modern science, which is so reliant on the accidental ignorant discovery.
So to sum up education is not as important as we think it is, being ignorant is just as important as being erudite. What is important is the ability to learn, the knowledge of how to learn and the desire to do so.
Or to put it simply in a modern society you cannot know everything so just learn what you need or want.