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Old April 8th, 2014, 06:43 AM   #41

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'In fact every college degree is a luxury and not a necessity. Why would you need a physician if you need a doctor? And why would you need a doctor if you need more hands to work on your farm? And why do we need mathematicians when we got calculators? The usefulness of a degree is always relative.'

Surely you jest. Would you want to fly in a large passenger jet designed by someone without a degree in Aeronautical Engineering using a two dollar calculator? Mortality rates would soar, "extinct" diseases would stage a comeback and new diseases would go untreated. Without the advanced knowledge of chemistry and material sciences, many of those things we enjoy would either go away, or become almost impossible. Mathematics is more than just calculating a series of numbers to get an answer. Higher Mathematics lies at the heart of understanding and manipulating the world around us, and that takes more than the arithmetic that Miss Philips taught us in Junior High School. Without all those un-necessary degrees, agriculture would go back to the small farm where animal muscle was always in short supply. The world we live in and will live in for the foreseeable future is built on the expertise of those who have degrees and post-graduate degrees. We are almost certainly going to need biologically altered grains, vegetables, and proteins in the future if famine is to be avoided. We need biologists of every sort, and those all come with advanced university degrees.

Ah, you might say, but who needs folks educated in the Arts, English, History, Physics, or Astronomy? Physics is a fundamental prerequisite for science and technology. Astronomy helps us understand our universe and may someday provide a doomed species with a sanctuary around some distant star. Astronomy along with Physics helps unlock the secrets of our Universe, and believe me that has very practical applications. Reading, writing, and familiarity with the great literature of the past are all attributes of the educated person. Imagine a semi-literate person trying to make sense of a repair manual by sounding out the individual words. Already many of those repair manuals are written in virtual gibberish by Engineers who barely passed their courses in English. Who are we; Why are we the way we are; How did the world get to this place and time; Did the world we live in come about by chance, or as a result of uncounted and forgotten choices? What forces drive our choices? Will the world remain as it is, or will it continue to evolve? Understanding ourselves, our cultures, and institutions; a luxury, or a necessity?
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Old April 8th, 2014, 07:20 PM   #42

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Quote:
Originally Posted by cciviero View Post
You do realize that an MBA is a Master's Degree (which is what the M in MBA stands for) and that in the vast majority of circumstances one is required to obtain an undergraduate degree (which for GWB was a history degree) first as a prerequisite, right?
That's not the point. My point is that Bush at no time has used a history degree to obtain employment. And don't presume to lecture me on an MBA as if I'm an idiot, I know what it is.
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Old April 9th, 2014, 04:06 AM   #43
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That's not the point. My point is that Bush at no time has used a history degree to obtain employment. And don't presume to lecture me on an MBA as if I'm an idiot, I know what it is.
Well, you did say you thought he had "just an MBA," and I was responding that that would be highly unlikely.

We're in full agreement that George W Bush's career is not much of an argument for the practical usefulness of history degrees.
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Old April 12th, 2014, 12:10 PM   #44
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The failure to comprehend the useulness of the arts & humanities is why our world today is, in my belief, flawed. The practical knowledge if understanding the past is necessary for understanding the present. Reading expands your vocabulary and this your cognitive capabilities and thoughts. Art drastically improves creativity and thus unique approaches to problem solving. Philosophy is the God of all disciplines in teaching logic (with history and English also laying claim to the title!). Foreign languages allow different world view and greater comprehension; ya know, there is an Inuit language with no word for "I," subsequently the people have/had (don't know enough to make a definitive claim) no sense of individuality or "private property." Anthropology and sociology gve taught historians much and continues to do about the peoples studied. Art History is a nice mix of history, art and English: in and of itself it improves your comprehension capabilities, logical thinking as creativity while also shedding light on the powe of art.

Shall I go on?

Lets talk more about history.

AGAIN: WITHOUT PROPER HISTORICAL UNDERSTANDING, PERNICIOUS MYTHS PERSIST.

Because yes, Africa is a continent without civilization and thus slavery as racism are acceptable.
Indigenous peoples are savages who must be force to conform. Or, they're a vanishing race with no agency in the historical story; who cares?
Women have always been subordinate to men
Americans have a high quality of living and therefore everything must be okay and the current system can't possibly wrong or unsustainable.

Bulllll shittttttt. The lack of proper historical knowledge has enabled the greatest tragedies of the past AND CONTEMPORARY WORLD: gross economic disparity, US violation of international law and breaking of treaty rights, continued attempts to disenfranchise segments of the population, etc, etc.

As for the individual, a history major- if one truly invests him or herself- offers you the practical knowledge as well as a myriad of skills: reading comprehension, writing skills, improved logic capabilities, critical thinking, awareness of bias, research abilities, and more.

I don't want to hear it won't get you a job. First, THAT'S NOT THE POINT OF EDUCATION. Second, it CAN get you a job. Third, VERY FEW unfergraduate majors are tailored to a specific job. I can only think of: nursing, education, and engineering. Other than that, ALL students have to use what they've leaned and the skills try have to find a job that is suitable to their skill set. Perhaps it is easier to find one in the sciences, but I'd argue that's te result of a few different things: capitalism and the military industrial capitalism, the Cold War, and shortsighted policy-making. I want a society full of poets, artists, theater, classicists, literature-lovers, philosophers and historians. I do not want a society of chemists who "improve" agriculture and food with pernicious chemicals, techies who great addictiig (some how) false realities that cause the cessation of person-to-person contact and unheard of levels of obesity, physicists who create nuclear weapons, nor biologists whose work in life extension will most likely be monopolized for the rich.

I recognize the amazing capabilities of doctors, engineers, etc. But it's foolish to promote all since without questioning whether it actually benefits us or not. Something the liberal arts teach us to do: think critically and question things.
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Old April 12th, 2014, 09:00 PM   #45
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I don't want to hear it won't get you a job. First, THAT'S NOT THE POINT OF EDUCATION.
Maybe that would be so if bachelors degrees didn't set someone back $40k+.

Your sentiment, especially with the all caps, is patronizing to people who lack the financial means to pursue such degrees and insults the capacity of human beings to learn through various other channels of study. Education doesn't need to be in the form of a formal post-secondary institution. And the reality is that attending a formal post-secondary institution is one of the most enormous investments one can make and economic factors should be thoroughly considered by any reasonable person.

I am curious how old you are and how your tuition was paid for.
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Old April 13th, 2014, 03:30 PM   #46
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I am a second year undergraduate student who just turned twenty. I pay for my education by myself, completely financially independent. I pay for it with a mixture of scholarships I have earned, a fair amount of financial aid in terms of grants, my position as a Residnt Assitant (free $9,000 housing + meal plan), and my hard work in the summer as a laborer for the sewerage district.

I see where you may think that, but that's not what I meant. My belief is that education should not be an expense. Despite my fortunate ability to pay for education, you actually have me completely wrong. Indeed, I am currently leading a campaign to end student debt in my state (Maine) and implement the Pay it Forward, Pay it Back program.

My mom is incredibly poor and is unable to help me, I have been fortunate enough and very hard-working to be able to be where I am today. But please do not take this as a pro-capitalist "if you just work hard enough you can do it" post; because I am fully aware of that BS and am a big critic of this belief and capitalism as it is in America today.


Caps, for me, is for emphasis. Not in a patronizing way, though. That being said, that is a self aware tendency (coming off as patronizing). Although, I DO (ah, there are those caps again) believe that formal post-secondary education is better than other means of education, but I do not deny that one can learn in many different ways. That beig said, I am very much a believer in classical, disinterested and academia-led republics.

Last edited by BlackBear; April 13th, 2014 at 03:36 PM.
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Old April 13th, 2014, 04:52 PM   #47
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I commend you on your hard work and am glad that thus far you are reaping rewards from it.

But with that said, and I don't feel to sound patronizing myself even though I'm sure it will come off that way, it does not at all surprise me that you are a current post-secondary student who has not yet really entered the work force. Your commentary strongly suggested as much.

I also can't say I agree with your assessment of universities, even though I really enjoy taking university courses.There is much value to be had in academia, but at the same time, they are as prone to insular groupthink as any other subculture (look at women's studies departments for a self-parodying example of this).

Last edited by cciviero; April 13th, 2014 at 06:40 PM.
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Old April 13th, 2014, 05:30 PM   #48
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Thank you. And I don't think one should worry too much about comig off as patronizing if it is your honest opinion.

My answer to both of those is that my views are shaped by my idealized version of how society ought to exist (and university). Does my optimistic tone challenge a cyclical reality? Yes, but I think that's a good thing. I truly believe it is time people challenge the nature of society and the world we live in today. Again, I often find myself gravitating to, perhaps, unrealistic goals- so be it, I guess.

I am aware that after a liberal arts major graduates there are significant difficulties in finding work. But A.) there is work, with some luck and hard work. B.) You don't have to subscribe yourself to the standards of the contemporary world. You don't need consumer goods (I challenge myself to use less and less things, while recognizing the benefits/entertainment of many. But I still would not go buy any consumer good). The only thing I would say ties you to the standards of today is the need for healthcare- which ought to be universal.
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Old April 14th, 2014, 05:45 AM   #49

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Good for you Black Bear. I predict a successful life for you, if you don't let the passion for learning burn down into embers. "Is not learning a pleasure?"
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Old April 14th, 2014, 07:18 PM   #50
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Thank you very much. Success is completely relative, though. Happiness = success. Ya know? Which I am sure you will fid, too.

Learning is my second greatest pleasure (after competition).
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