You said, "education trains you at narrow tricks that work for passing tests — sitting still for a prolonged period, guessing well when you don’t know the answer, watching out for trick questions, etc. — and these tricks also help on IQ tests."

But not only on IQ tests. Lots of the elements of education - or at least of the way we conventionally do education - provide globally useful skills:

- cooperation in small and large groups

- dealing with authority(s) especially when those representing the authority are unreasonable or challenging in some way

- patience

- detecting and responding to others' expectations

- and as your last two examples show, strategy.

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A couple of others, of British Navy origin.

I just heard the other day of a primary school teacher having to comfort a child who had heard an adult say, "there isn't even room to swing a cat". Because the child wondered, 'What kind of person are you, wanting to swing a cat around a room?' Had she only known... the saying refers to the cat-o-nine-tails, a particularly nasty implement for maintaining discipline in the lower ranks of British sailors.

Many people think "the cat's out of the bag" refers to a secret no longer being kept. Or a literal cat being given free rein to chase mice. Or something. But again it refers to the cat-o-nine-tails and you know there's going to be trouble for someone when the boatswain gets the cat out of the bag.

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Julian McNally

Julian McNally

Open up. Get present. Start living.