The Importance of Education

Education is more important than most people realize

Education is vital to humanity at this point. And with technology making our lives easier, it’s easier to forget how important education really is. When we don’t know something, we Google it. Or use Wikipedia. Or whichever source you like best. There’s no need to really understand what we know because the internet has become an extended version of our brain.

But 600 years ago… that wasn’t the case. And the idea of university was starting to become more and more popular. But let’s think about 600 years ago and compare it to today in 2016.

In the 1400’s university was on the rise. It was prior to then, but around this time is when things started kicking into high gear. Now I challenge you to think about this: can you name anything else that was created almost 1,000 years ago that hasn’t changed over the centuries? If you can, great! But most of us can’t, unless you consider the simple answers like “the wheel”.

The oldest companies in the world don’t compare to how old our education system is. And it hasn’t needed a drastic change to keep up with the times. Would you call this a phenomenon?

Education was a revolutionary idea that changed how fast humanity can progress. I think about this all the time and what would have happened if the concept of furthering one’s education was never invented, or never grew the way it did. Where would we be today?

That growth, along with numerous other technologies helped humanity as a global community grow until about the `70’s, when the internet (as we know it today) was being developed. And then education took off at the speed of light. We were able to instantly share new findings with the world, teach new people that may not have ever had to chance of learning and collectively grow as a global community.

Yes, there are still problems with the world, and people not having access to the internet is one of them. And in time, that will change.

Fast forward to today and you can learn a lot on the internet, usually for a modest price. But as new technology is being formed, we’re being distracted from growing our own education and sharing our new knowledge with our friends. This is a double edged sword, because I absolutely love technology. And it’s taken me a couple years to cut through all the noise and pointless apps. And I absolutely love education because I see the potential for a global community without borders to grow into an interplanetary species. Yep, I said it. And I’ll say it a different way: education is what will give humans the ability to explore the stars. Can just anybody work a rocket? I certainly can’t. Does everyone know the rate of of acceleration? Probably not. Do we all know how physics works and how it would apply to us while on or off Earth? Doubtful.

But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves here. Rather, I’ll slow down the pace for a moment and take a look at what education can do for us, today.

Something like 2.5 billion people access the internet. That leaves a lot of brain power off the table. Great minds often come from improbable places. We know where where the next Stephen Hawking will come from. A powerful piece of grey matter like that could, in theory, come from a place that doesn’t have access to internet today, but just needs a little jolt of inspiration. That is not improbable, and with the growth rate of humans on the planet, it’s becoming more probable.

But here’s how I see it. Today, we have a lot of great minds working on a lot of great things, from reusable rockets and electric cars to artificial intelligence. Stuff that most people don’t understand. And we, as a global community, are making huge progress every day, even when we don’t see or hear about it. So put humanities collective brain on a scale from 0 to 1, 1 being the smartest humanity will ever be. Measure that potential in your head for a quick moment and think to yourself, where are we on that scale right now? Are we at 0.2? Are we at 0.3? This answer varies depending on how well you think we can do, assuming no apocalyptic event occurs (looking at you, pollution of every variety). Wherever you are on that scale doesn’t matter, but what does matter is this next piece.

Where would we be if everybody in the world had access to just basic education via the internet?

We could go from 2.5 billion to 7.5 billion internet users who have access to basic education. Not all of them will be geniuses. Not all off them will be the next Nikola Tesla. In fact, most won’t. But we’ll be able to increase the average intelligence of everybody on the planet. And history has shown that educated countries become more economically stable, produce better technology, contribute more to a global community. But most importantly, educated sections of the world have an increased standard of living. Clean water, electricity, food, vaccines, basic medicine practices, new innovative ideas and so on.

This is a large concept but this is how I see it. It gets infinitely more complex when we take in more variables, but the end result is always the same, as proven by the last 600 years of education: everything gets better. It doesn’t get better over night, but it won’t take 600 years either. I hypothesize that less that one lifetime is all it’ll take… If we work hard at it.

As a summarizing note, I’d like to state for the record that I’m not saying socialism or communism is the way forward. I am, however, stating that a basic standard of living can be globally increased at an ever growing pace through education. We’re on that track already, but it’ll take more effort from our part to make this a reality in the next 5 or 6 decades.

What are your thoughts on education? Do you think education can be used as a tool to bring everybody to a basic standard of living, or will it take something stronger? Feel free to leave your comments below.

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