The uneducated man

Aristotle quote about educated man.

The uneducated man.
(“Portrait of Aristoteles“, by Eric Gaba / CC BY-SA 2.5 / Derivative work)

I have recently realised that I am not an educated man.

I have studied in good schools as a child and as a teenager and I have grown up in a healthy family environment under caring parents, where the essence of character has been taught — even if tacitly. I have gone to college and then to graduate school, accumulating a few post-graduate titles. I have delved deep enough in a scientific profession, so as to present academic papers, to manage teams of scientists and even to be technically responsible for huge multi-million dollar projects.

Yet, I have not learned much of value.

We amass huge quantities of intellectual knowledge throughout our lives as we become “specialists” to please society, but we lose perspective of what really matters. We improve our exterior “résumé virtues” without enough concern to our interior true virtues. We live our lives almost like zombies, motto-continuous living beings that don’t have time to think where they are heading or the strength to change the course of their lives. So we walk everyone else’s walk and judge ourselves through other people’s lenses. Eventually, we become less than we once aspired. Every additional day we live makes it easier to accept our fate. Every dollar added to our bank account and every promotion at work reassure that we are in the right path — even if a fragile path towards inner mediocrity.

The fragility lies in the inherent assumption that we have control over our lives. If we work diligently, we will achieve. If we achieve, we will be secure. If we are secure, we will be happy. But in the midst of this well-thought-out plan, one simple random event wreaks havoc in our lives. And we are unprepared to take the blow. We are unprepared because, like the society we live in, we lack a strong character. The education I talk about in the first line of this post is an education of character. For the lucky ones like me, such education began in the core of our families, but it also ended there. Somewhere along the turbulence of our daily existence we forgot to foster character, and, like any other muscle in our bodies, it atrophied. I want to resume such education — I need to, because I know havoc.

(Continues on The belligerent fool >>)

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