Engineering. You’re more wrong than it is.

Image borrowed from copperstateengineering.com

Only yesterday, I came across someone saying, “what’s the point of your engineering? Even after 4 years of working so hard, you end up doing measly jobs and after over 10 years of sloughing you can barely afford a healthy lifestyle. What’s the point of engineering anyways?”

This gentleman reiterated his point and then went off. This is one of the drawbacks of social media vis a vis a face to face conversation, that you can simply say anything that you want and then fuck off. If you ignore people for long enough, you can get away with almost anything.

You could say something like, “I met god, She’s black and likes to take it from behind” And while the majority of your friend list loses it’s shit, if you just stay silent for long enough, they’ll find better things to get offended about. You could literally offend over 3 social groups in less than 140 characters and provided you aren’t popular enough, you won’t face any consequences.

I don’t warrant getting offended, but I am amused by its ephemeral nature.

Coming back to the story, so as this person went off, I begun to think, what is the point of it really? There has been such a wide spread bashing of engineering these days that it’s not even funny anymore. We are in a state where the education system has been cursed way beyond what it probably deserved.

I agree that it does have it’s flaws, mortal flaws for that and flaws we can’t live with. But the common perception and how easily we throw around phrases like, “the whole bloody system is flawed” in situations where it might not even be the system’s fault, is pretty alarming.

With this, I want to address a very particular problem. Engineering. Oh wait, that’s not a problem, that’s the solution, the problem actually, is the uncalled-for bashing of engineering.

If you haven’t been living under a rock or you don’t have hibernating tendencies, you would’ve noticed a ridiculous outburst in the number of expressions on social media that go, “don’t do engineering. It’s a trap, it’s useless” often followed by things like, “engineering never taught me life lessons. College only taught me things that I am never going to use anyways. It’s all bloody useless”

The more remorseful part is that there is a huge audience that agrees with these items in their news feeds. They even share it, like it, comment on it, tell their friends about it, and then resort to looking for cheap dinner options and pirated movies.

But there is one part that we miss most of the times. Engineering never promised us all the things that we demand off of it. Institutions sure did, they promised us a good future, secure jobs, a happening lifestyle, and all that we are conditioned to desire. But the fundamentals of science and the engineering never had your best interests at heart.

The most that engineering could promise to do is to make you a rational human being. And that should be a part of the core purpose of education as well. Above that, there have to be things that we learn in life by being good people, by handling relationships well, and by flourishing in a society through collaboration. These things, in the current construct, cannot be pinned on education.

I agree that education overall, and specifically in India has so many loopholes, it looks like a system designed to fail. But I also feel that way too many people are blaming their inability to do things onto education.

Engineering is a state of mind. I see engineers all around, some have the right tools, some don’t. In the same way, so is art, and even more so is design. And yet we chose to award the authority and the ability of design to people who have studied it, thus, very crudely ripping the rest of the society apart from any design literacy.

Anything that we do around us is design, it is engineering, and very often, it is art. When we refuse to acknowledge the collaboration involved in coming up with anything that we adore, we consciously choose to put ourselves, and all the lives that we touch, into a hellhole of misinterpretations and a substandard worldview.

Engineering is fine, so is medicine and everything else. It is us who are flawed, and in turn, our perspective of looking at education, and eventually in executing it. It’s time for a change.