Monday, October 25, 2010

Being an Educated Person

Thirteen years ago, while attending UC Davis, I took a wonderful anthropology class. The female professor who taught the class was passionate about her work, and enjoyed sharing stories from the field. Unfortunately, I cannot recall her name, but I will never forget her enthusiasm for and dedication to her craft.

During the class, the professor handed out an article she had written called "Being an Educated Person." I loved it then, just as I love it now. The piece has been hidden away in one of my inspiration binders for years, and upon rereading it recently, I immediately removed it from the binder, intent upon sharing it with you, my blog readers.

Here's what my professor wrote:

Being an educated person has to do with the kind of life you lead, not with whether you know certain facts and have read a certain list of books. Here are some suggestions.

1. Read a national paper daily. Know what is going on in the world and make a point of looking at the opinion columns, reviews, etc.

2. Try your hand at some type of creative, artistic expression. Even if you do not continue, you will always be a better observer after your experience, whether you paint, write poetry, dance or play the electric guitar.

3. If something interests you, learn a lot about it. Subscribe to a magazine or journal. Study in depth whatever intrigues you in the world out there.

4. Go examine culture. Keep your eyes and ears open and go to musical events, art museums, plays, public lectures, rock concerts. Ask friends what they see and hear and what they think about it.

5. Think about yourself. Who are you and what do you like and not like? How do you think you got that way? Are there things you like and do not like about yourself? "The unexamined life is not worth living."

6. Read reviews. It is impossible to see, hear and read everything so we need some help in picking out the important/interesting/provocative, etc., from all the things produced.

7. Once a week, walk through a bookstore or a part of the library you are not familiar with. Give yourself the chance to find new books that interest you.

8. Participate in the larger society. Help out in some way in improving the world. An educated person who has no connection to the challenges and problems of today, who has nothing to offer, is a person on whom an education has been wasted.

9. Study Abroad. (Or travel!)

10. Finally, one of the differences between us and computers is that we make arguments. When you read a magazine, read one that presents arguments not drivel. Even if you do not agree with everything, you will learn more and more about how people make arguments. When necessary, make them.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with her assertions?

J

1 comment:

Simone said...

I really enjoyed this! I am also a teacher and really appreciate how being an educated person is not limited to what you can attain in a classroom. There are so many sources travel, reading and of course blogs!!!!!

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