Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Downsides of Getting Educated (and Taking it Seriously!)

I remember as a little boy my Mother and I would drive from our newest apartment in Eastern Nebraska to my aunt and uncles latest farmhouse somewhere in Western Iowa. We were all just one step above vagabonds. I was an intelligent child, far beyond my actual age. 

The first novel I read was John Grisham's, "A Time To Kill", because I had forgotten to bring toys on our customary weekend trip. It sat in the rear window of my Moms car, I had just turned eight.

The pages turned fast before me and I was excited to share my newest discovery of novels with my extended family. But instead of the interest and acceptance of my latest entry into early adulthood that I expected, they challenged my ability to grasp the content. It was a severe blow to my ego.

The lesson was clear though, education was for smart people, not me. My Mother tried to counteract this instinctively, but there wasn't much she could do even if she knew exactly how I felt, which I rarely shared truthfully. 

Here and now as a middle age adult I am just now confident enough to admit that I was intelligent as a child. This while I'm currently enrolled in college, working towards my Associates Degree. But my past haunts me as I run into people who fit my learned criteria of what smart is and I meet my own, sometimes crippling, insecurities. I realize that I have a sensitive ego and fickle sense of self. 

The more I learn the more I realize how little I know and how far behind I am. None if this is even the intended downside of education I was thinking of to begin with. But since we are on the topic, originally I was thinking of how the more you know the more you get opened up to. The world seems so big now. Before I was just some sexually confused country bumpkin in prison. Now I see that I am just so small in this big ole world and my big goals are being framed, and limited, by the knowledge of others.

Furthermore, now that I can understand a little more on how the world works I have a difficult time interacting with those who don't. Not the dreamers, but the obstinant authority of the marginalized. Its not just the world that makes me feel small, its the imposing structures and the evilness they were built from that does it.

With Love
Jeff 

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