We often don’t recognize, and thus don’t appreciate, the extent of our prosperity in the United States. We take for granted the liberties and privileges that are associated with being in a prosperous nation. However, our forgetfulness does not absolve us the responsibilities of providing a relevant education to the next generation.
When we think of education in the traditional sense, it often involves learning about science, math, social studies, and literature. However, education, in it’s fullest form includes much more. Being “educated” isn’t about having multiple college degrees, or having a wealth of knowledge. Rather it is about having a wealth of experiences that enrich our souls and provide us a sense of understanding and compassion for humanity. This type of education is far more challenging to come by, especially in the U.S.
The American education system has begun to resemble an assembly line. Teachers work quickly to include materials deemed important. Standardized tests are a form of quality control. “In the past decade, the line has been sped up, the workers are asked to add more bells and whistles, and the raw material at the beginning of the line have decreased in quality” (Alan Rosenberg). This system is ineffective and defunct. Modern society demands a passion in building a brighter future with the tools we have. Innovation is not an esoteric art; rather, it’s the simple cooperation of sapience, ingenuity, and imagination.
The term sapience has extreme significance. It represents the philosophy of ideal knowledge and intelligence. And in fact there are three steps in the hierarchy of understanding: first, there are the facts. When we have simple understanding of facts, such as the population of the United States, they have knowledge. But is that really true comprehension? No, it is nothing but memorization. Children consider themselves “smart” when one student can recite many unrelated or random facts, or maybe knows the definition of some complex term. The next step is the ability to connect those facts together to begin gaining more knowledge. This is called intelligence, and it is what we do in high school. This stage is the compounding stage, where more background information allows more understanding. Part of the satisfaction of learning is in noticing the connections between seemingly unrelated aspects.
While being able to relate facts together and having a deeper understanding of the world is important, the final step is the application of knowledge and intelligence to our lives — to improve the lives of others and to create a lasting legacy. This is called Sapience. Sapience is touching the lives around us in many different ways as a granger does to the landscape.
At this stage, I surmise that one can truly be called “educated.”