Why education?

published Jun 06, 2019

Why do we study for a profession?

Far too many people are confused about the purpose of studying or the need for a degree. Most people are motivated to study by greed of prestige — they want to be "better than others" — or by fear of oblivion — they believe they'll be "nobodies" without a degree.

They are — pardon my French — idiots.

There are two main purposes to studying:

  1. If you are financially precarious, you study because you want a career. If you chose what to study wisely, then you can make money and stop being poor.
  2. If you are already financially stable, you study because you want logos . You do it as a hobby — that is, if you want to study at all.

Sounds obvious? Well, it's entirely nonobvious to many college-educated people. Here's how you, too, can fuck your life up, just like these well-educated idiots:

  • If you don't have enough money, you have to work to make that money — and that often obligates you to study. But, if you're doing it for the wrong reasons, you might very well end up studying the wrong thing for you — or, worse, getting a useless degree — and wasting perhaps more than a decade doing so. You may end up both broke and feeling duped for the rest of your life.
  • If you do have the financial stability, you may want to occupy your time with studies, but by no means are you obligated to do so. There's nothing inherently morally superior or redeeming about the act of studying itself. I'll even argue that, in some circumstances, studying can be a reprehensible waste of years of your life — your time could have been better put to use by doing something else, like doing charity work or raising a family.

Many great men and women from the Enlightenment who dedicated their lives to study (and, later, creation) did so already being rich when they started doing so. Perhaps they inherited a generous estate, perhaps they built fortunes early during their lives; regardless, they were financially stable. Thus, these men and women who gave us great advancements in science and art, did so exclusively for their love of knowledge. But — key point — they could afford to do that selflessly only because they were enabled by their preexisting wealth. Meanwhile, many people from the same era who needed the money, studied the right things for them. They ended up making enough money so that their kids could be selfless and dedicate themselves to logos.

So, if you're in a position where you already have the option of financial stability, you absolutely don't need to study at all. This goes doubly so if you're both smart and rich — being smart means you can easily pick knowledge up without formal studies. And if you really need that cash, then you must make sure that what you choose will give you that cash.

Keep this in mind when someone tells you "oh, but you have to study, or else you'll be a nobody". They're lying to you. You must be practical about the purpose of your choice. Weigh your options. Perhaps pick a practical study instead of an academic one. Perhaps be that stay-at-home mom/dad you always felt like being. Perhaps don't study formally at all — learn what you want on your own.

Whatever choice you make, don't let the merchants of social stigma make that choice for you.