Monday, November 21, 2011

You Know You Are Educated When

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about education and what it means to be an educated person. I've known many people with degrees who are not, in fact, educated; and, I know many people without degrees who are the epitome of educated. So, how do you know when you are an educated person?

You know you are educated when you can entertain conflicting ideas and not get frustrated or give up.

You know you are educated when you don't need to shout your opinions nor demonize your ideological foes; rather, you choose to search for new ways to create meaning and understanding, finding ways to bridge ideological gulfs.

You know you are educated when you realize that if you live a million years, you will never learn everything, but, by gosh, you are going to try anyway because learning is the greatest joy you can experience when you're all by yourself.

You know you are educated when your curiosity will NOT accept not knowing something; a question will niggle your brain until you must find an answer.

And finally, you know you are educated when you realize you can NEVER know enough.

Take care,


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  1. I'm curious why you chose the term "educated" in your description. One might just have well used the term "intelligent" or some other such term.

  2. Kate, What a terrific post! It reminded me of a lecture I had in school (many moons ago!) as you somewhat paraphrased a quotation from T.S. Eliot with your comment, "You know you are educated when you can entertain conflicting ideas and not get frustrated or give up." The exact wording, alas, escapes my feeble mind, and at the moment, cannot bridge the gap in time from when I first heard it. But it is an important phrase/quotation, and has had an impact on my life since I first heard it in an English classroom, so long ago!

  3. Here are two T.S. Eliot quotations on education:
    "No one can become really educated without having pursued some study in which he took no interest. For it is part of education to interest ourselves in subjects for which we have no aptitude."
    "It is in fact a part of the function of education to help us to escape, not from our own time - for we are bound by that - but from the intellectual and emotional limitations of our time."

  4. Kate, While driving home today (from Arcadia) it suddenly came to me! The T.S. Eliot quotation that had such an impact on me was: "An educated person is someone who can entertain any idea without hostility." I'm sure you know that one, but I dare say that it left such an impression on me, that I think about it to this day! And who was the "professor" who said that in a lecture? It was a "guest" instructor in a political science class, where I assume that the quotation is quite relevant. The instructor was a man named Art Buchwald. Hmmm. A familiar name, to say the least.

    Still looking forward to reading your book! (Perhaps we could drive up your way and get an autographed copy!)

  5. One of my favorite quotes on education:

    “The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”
    ― T.H. White, The Once and Future King

  6. This is MY favorite quote on education. I was going to put this on my blog, but hadn't gotten around to it. Thanks for doing it JT. By the way, is JT you, Jane?

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