Education to Enlightenment
My friend, Stuart McCann, recently lamented… “Oh, the multitudes of the ‘educated… yet not the least bit ‘enlightened.’” I think my friend correct. Many are called, but few are chosen. Likewise, many are educated, but few are enlightened. In my own present state of limited enlightenment, I see the Journey to Enlightenment as a two-step Marathon…
Step 1… Awakening to Education
The first step toward enlightenment is a formal education in any “demanding” subject (or in some instances, an informal education). Education… just to awaken the mind from the fog of birth, the exuberance of childhood, the angst of adolescence and the usual hesitancy and confusion that surround the 20 and 30 something year-olds.
Case in Point.
After four years of paying my tuition by “thumpin” on the gridiron of College Football, I graduated from the University of Detroit in 1965 with a major in Mathematics and minors in Chemistry and Philosophy. My first full time job ??? “Bouncer” (aka Doorman) at Joe Bathey’s, biker bar (on Wyoming in Detroit, just south of Fenkell aka Five mile)… owned by a good Catholic guy, Hymie Greenblatt (or, perhaps, a good Jewish boy). My job description ??? What I knew best. “Thumpin” !!! In this case…thumpin inebriated recalcitrants and various Moon for the Misbegotten, misdemeanments and malcontents. As my Irish Grandmother would say, “I was in me element.” As the Dominican Nuns from St. Scholastica would say… “You may be ‘Educated,’ but you’re not exactly ‘Enlightened.’”
The value of a good High School education or a good College education cannot be overstated. Repeat, cannot be overstated, even if it doesn’t lead to an immediate job. Education is “exercise” of the mind. It hurts, just like physical exercise hurts. Education is a “mental fitness” regimen for those who seek to have a quick and agile mind that will continue to serve them… even after they forget all they were taught. Or, as syndicated columnist, Sydney Harris, said… “Education is everything left over after you forgot all they taught you.”
I have long forgotten my Calculus, my Differential Equations, Organic Chemistry, Metaphysics, Plato’s logic, Aristotle’s search for truth, Theology, etc. But, it matters not. Because, what is left over (after I forgot all I learned) is a well-tuned, quick and agile mind, well-schooled in the art of “critical analysis,” logic and deductive reasoning… ready to assuredly and skillfully analyze the words and writings of others, and ready to learn new subjects, new disciplines or re-learn old subjects… over the course of a lifetime of continuing (always continuing) education.
Once the mind is awakened and fine-tuned through education and maturity, you are then in position to begin the journey on the Road to Marathon… the road that leads to the “gateway” of Enlightenment.
Step 2. The Road to Marathon…
Education to Enlightenment
Since the Journey to Enlightenment is a long, uncertain and arduous Marathon… Enlightenment comes only to those who ???
*To those who have a very high index of natural “curiosity.”
* To those who are not threatened by hearing or considering… “both sides” of any given argument or debate.
* To those who are “intellectually honest” and open to the journey that searches for real “truth”… the “truth” that is undistracted by the “I already know the answer” bias (aka preconceived notions and “confirmation bias”) that hinders the search for real truth.
* To those who maintain the desire to figure out (not just reflect on current events) but to seriously figure out what is going on in life through all of life’s various “fundamental perspectives”…
#1. Historical perspective.
#2. Logical perspective.
#3. Scientific perspective.
#4. Philosophical perspective.
#5. Humanistic perspective.
#6. Religious perspective.
#7. Emotional perspective.
#8. Spiritual perspective.
#9. Legal perspective.
#10. Political perspective.
#11. Artistic perspective.
My profession as a Trial Lawyer forced me to confront and cross examine “forensic experts” from every field of life and every area of expertise… giving me a hand’s on, decades-old working knowledge of all of the 11 perspectives listed above. And, the only thing I know for sure (after 54 years a lawyer) is…
1. Proofs, mathematical, scientific and legal must control the debate of Enlghtenment… not Q-anon conspiracy theories, nor feelings, emotions, hunches or intuitive thinking.
2. Some things are open and shut, and beyond debate (Black and White as they say), such as Slavery is (and was) wrong from every perspective… morally wrong, humanly wrong, spiritually wrong, politically wrong, philosophically wrong, religiously wrong, logically wrong, humanistically wrong, and legally wrong… a wrongful theft of another’ persons’ humanity. Or, as it so rightfully and eloquently declared in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men [and women] are created equal.”
3. Things not open and shut, are subjects where reasonable minds may reasonably differ, and, therefore… involve “assessment” and the weighing of needs and agendas in search for the best possible solutions to solve life’s problems.
But, what of “Wisdom” ??? Though Wisdom and I have not yet made our acquaintance, I suspect that Wisdom is Enlightenment… sprinkled with patience and humility.
That’s all I know for now. But, by just discussing the subject my friend Stuart raised, I know I will have a little more “light” (as in enlightenment) tomorrow when I awake… which will then, with a little luck, enhance my present state of limited Enlightenment.
Enlightenment and Wisdom are life time pursuits on the long and arduous Road to Marathon. So, just keep on truckin’.
With gratitude and acknowledgement…
to my friend, Stuart McCann’s question.