Thoughts on the Importance of Education

Ignorance is one of the principle causes of the incapacity to develop relevant perspective on any issue. Gaining informed (and therefore relevant) perspective generates the potential to understand that whatever point of view we choose to defend is only one of many possible alternatives. Simply put, we can admit the existence of other perspectives and their importance to others. Such a situation should give rise to informed debate and compromise.

The other principle cause of the incapacity to develop perspective is dogma (religious and/or political). I would argue that dogma in any form is a subset of ignorance, one in which the notion of perspective and the belief in the existence of a single truth are one in the same. Dogma, therefore, is a form of intellectual blindness that voids the notion of perspective of any relevance.

Prolonged encounters with very experienced individuals in our professional area, with persons of competence and excellence in other unrelated areas and with other cultures, particularly those very different from our own, are all necessary ingredients to developing perspective in which ignorance plays an ever-declining role. 

Enlightenment is a difficult, never-ending journey. It must be earned. It must be seen to be both a desirable and necessary voyage. The primary role of education is to stimulate this desire and to elucidate its inestimable value.