If someone keeps letting you down

Because you’re waiting for their help, but they don’t make time; Or don’t do what they say they’ll do; Or do it badly; Or can’t do the job they’ve been given; Or only do it inconsistently; Or aren’t engaged when you need them to be; Or damage relationships and reputations; Or otherwise hold you or others back… It’s probably time…

Educated (11): Truth in context

Another aspect of the limits of knowledge is the contingent nature of most of what we know: Truth is usually* truth-in-context. A pair of non-parallel lines will only ever cross once… on the infinite flat plane of Euclidian geometry.** Swans are only white… as far as Europeans knew before someone saw a black one in Australia. It’s safest to walk…

Educated (10): Limits to knowledge

An education should give us an awareness of the limits of knowledge. Most obviously: That there are things that we (humans) don’t understand; That some of those things we may never understand (or at least, in our lifetimes); That we (as individuals) can’t possibly know everything that is known; … and so what we do know is necessarily incomplete; ……

Educated (9): taxonomy and the fruits of knowledge

You’re probably familiar with the old saw “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.” This response to the smart alec’s observation that a tomato is not (botanically speaking) a vegetable points out that the distinction is meaningless in the kitchen.* Think a little harder and it gets…

Educated (7): you, life and other people

If you can raise your children to like and believe in themselves, and to be interested in life and other people, the rest is detail. Cousin-in-law Most of the important bits of “educated” are absorbed rather than taught. Schooling and opportunities help, but the slow drip of love and respect from people you love and respect is indispensable. Which leads…

Schopenhauer on reading yourself stupid

Schopenhauer had quite a lot to say about reading. He liked good books, but was highly skeptical of most books, and especially of contemporary ones. Here he is – in dialectical* opposition to most of my other posts about reading – on the effects of reading too much: When we read, someone else thinks for us; we repeat merely his…

Educated (6): none the wiser

Chaerephon, as you know, was very impetuous in all his doings, and he went to Delphi and boldly asked the oracle … to tell him whether there was anyone wiser than I was, and the Pythian prophetess answered that there was no man wiser. … When I heard the answer, I said to myself, What can the god mean? and…

Educated (4): shows and telling

This is the missing thought from Handwriting: There are plenty of things that appear to signify education (handwriting, certificates, vocabulary, waffley assertions, accent (sadly), name-dropping, [add yours here]) which might be correlated to education in one way or another but aren’t the same thing at all. These things can be used to put on a show of being educated, either…