What’s Education For?

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Education is important but what do we want from it?

The aim of education should be to prepare us for the challenges of adult life yet, from this perspective, its clear that schools fail all but a tiny portion of their students – trouble dealing with life’s challenges remains widespread

Human ingenuity, energy, good will and talent is being lost on an industrial scale.

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Confidence

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It’s humbling to realize just how many great achievements haven’t been the result of superior talent or technical know-how, merely that strange buoyancy of the soul we call confidence

Why is it so easy to lack?

  • Partly it’s a hangover from the past. For thousands of years, for most of us, there simply were no opportunities for hope: we were serfs and slaves – and the central psychological survival skill was to keep our heads down and our expectations low.

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On Being Out of Touch With One’s Feelings

We look at ourselves as a single being, but in reality, there are (at least) two distinct parts to mental life: a feeling self and an observer self.  Sometimes the two are aligned, at other points, it’s far trickier.

Reasons it is difficult for the observing self to report accurately on feelings:

1. We are afflicted background ideas about the unacceptability of particular feelings.  We might worry that no decent person could be enthusiastic about making money or unable to cope at work, tempted by an affair or still upset over a break up three years ago.  Our sexual impulses may not fit the definition of a good boy or girl.

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First World Problems

We’ve grown used to belittling things that don’t seem important to us right now – this is understandable but counterproductive. Just because an issue isn’t connected to life or death doesn’t mean it doesn’t cause genuine pain or isn’t worth thinking about. The problems of rich countries are for the most part complicated and serious and the ones everyone is going to face in about 300 years.

First world problems are central issues of philosophy and politics because everyday we are fighting to get richer so lets understand the problems that come with or undermine this struggle:

1. Not having enough – we don’t decide if we have enough by asking ourselves what we need or comparing our material possessions with those of parents or grandparents and we don’t compare ourselves to poor countries. We ask whether we have enough by looking at people around us in immediate vicinity and people we see on tv. Our happiness is comparative and relative by nature. Advertising shows there is more we could have and that others already do…enormous part of why rich countries can be unhappy. Wealth matters to happiness but only up to a point

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