Yes. I'm going to do it, and i'm not going to feel bad about the analogy either.
The Purpose of Education. Its a theme in my life, apparently. In class on thursday, we were talking about Technopoly, again. My professor simply asked, "why do you go to school?" My body literally tensed up when he asked the question. I felt like the first answer out of someone's mouth would be very telling--i decided to wait it out and keep my mouth closed on a subject i think about far too often. Low and behold, the first answer out of someone's mouth (and i am still unsure as to whether she was giving her own opinion or voicing the opinion of the cultural majority, and i'm also wondering which i would have preferred.)--"to get a job."
I got angry. This doesn't happen very often, and it almost always happens when i think someone's ideas are mistaken, not because someone has hurt me, but hurt the ideas i hold so strongly to. I guess i let my ideas become inseperable from myself. Unlike most times, however, i felt a sense of hopelessness. I usually have a quick answer, a solution, a sharp remark to somehow cut down the silly conjectures of those who disagree with my stance on education,instead, i was silent. My anger quickly turned to sadness. Every part of me was crying out "really? I mean, really? That's the point? That is why I should, you should, go to school?" Yet, i couldn't bring myself to say anything. I felt that "to learn" would have seemed a trite and typical answer from a philosophy major, and anything else would have fallen on ears who did't want to hear.
My first constructive thought was--what about when you're 80? You will, no doubt, not be involved in the field you studied in school. There is no need for 80 year old teachers, psychologists, or computer scientists. Does your purpose, then, become irrelavant? Did everything i learn merely get me a good job, did i bide my time in school so that eventualy i could do something that i really wanted to do--make money? Well great, then the whole of my existence up until i acquire that job is spent readying myself for that end--but the problem is that life doesn't end when, someday, my job ends. All I'm saying is that wouldn't our time be better spent preparing us as people who's chief end is not to make money or have a job, but, instead, to glorify God, and enjoy Him forever? We have, even in the Christian community, glorified the "good life" and the "american dream", killing ourselves to make it through an education that is quite frequently unenjoyable and merely a stepping stone to our end.
TO GLORIFY GOD AND ENJOY HIM FOREVER.
Forever is now. Forever is elementary school. Forever is High School. Forever is college. Forever is our job. We have made school into a place where we prepare to enjoy god and glorify Him forever (primarily through our work). College is not preparation. Life is now. Education is not a stepping stone, its not a means to an end. It is an end in itself, and, unlike a vocation, it shouldn't stop until we die.
This has turned into something that isn't even about education for me anymore, its about processes. We have turned in to such a goal oriented society. Depending on the goal that we aim for, the process of achieving is Heaven or Hell. As Christians, education, among other things, must be seen as a process that acheives the goal of glorifying God, and allows us to enjoy him (and the process, which is tied up in Him). As Christians, if we aim for any other goal, we have missed the mark.