I run across this particular meme a lot, typically more than once a week. People usually hold it up as a example of young vs old, education vs “conventional wisdom” or schooling, etc. People love to share it, it’s pithy and on the surface it seems to compare those that are “wise” vs those that are educated, as if the two are somehow exclusive. The honest answer is that the latter often leads to the former. But I digress – I was talking specifically about this meme.
Yes, it is true that people can go to school and still come out inexperienced, naive, lacking in worldly matters. It’s true that some people just come out not knowing roughly as much as they didn’t know going in. Of course, it’s also true that your odds of winning the Powerball lottery are roughly 1 in 300 million. For the remaining people, you’re far better off knowing more rather than less, far better off having received an education than not. No, not everyone benefits from an education at the same level, and not all education is received at school, but you don’t benefit from personal ignorance. Stop pretending ignorance is a virtue, stop pretending those who pursue knowledge in any form are somehow less from where they acquired it. That’s the case for students at school, university, apprenticeships or hard knocks. What matters is that knowledge serves you better than ignorance, every time.