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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Thursday, June 28 2001

Learning

A number of pop songs in recent years have taken a stab at the education versus ignorance topic that has been occupying this space for the past two days. Toby Keith's, "I Wish I Didn't Know Now What I Didn't Know Then" may be my favorite such lyric, a turning upside down of the old aphorism that if I'd known then what I know now, I'd have:

  • made it big
  • made fewer mistakes
  • invested in Silicon Valley real estate
  • married better, or
  • bet on King's Ransom to win in the fifth

...all ways of saying hindsight is 20-20.

But wishing I didn't know now what I didn't know then speaks of ignorance as innocence, as Billy Joel proposes (in "The Longest Time"), a more sophisticated way of suggesting that ignorance is bliss. Enlightenment can bring pain, a fact that I'm assuming motivates many to turn away from higher education.

Under another topic recently I mentioned the scene in one of Nicholai Gogol's stories in which the small town bohicks accost their peer who's come back for the summer after a school year at seminary, pumping him to reveal all the secret doctrines of the church that aren't included in childhood catechism. On the one hand you perceive them as not really wanting to know them, if such secret doctrines exist; that might pull the rug of "faith" out from under them. But at another level they want to be affirmed in their choice to remain bohick ignoramuses, suggesting that the best answer the seminarian could give them is, "you don't really want to know."

My brother's untimely death in 1957 seemed to impel my parents and me to new levels of questioning and discovery about the philosophical and ideological competition going on in the national and international arenas. We listened to radio commentators and read about Communism and theories propounded by conservative and liberal parties and "movements." That might be fertile ground worth further turning here, but for now I want to recall just one observation my mother made after several years of reading and discussing such theories: "Sometimes I wish I'd never learned about all of this."

Some things it's better not to know, it's true, and one thing that's certain is that, often, "a little learning is a dangerous thing." But the alternative to getting "a little learning" is getting a real education. Are you up to it?

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

26 signs you're now an adult (collect 'em all!)

u. You actually eat breakfast foods at breakfast time.

w. "I just can't drink the way I used to" replaces, "I'm never going to drink that much again."

x. Over 90 percent of the time you spend in front of a computer is for real work.

z. You read this entire list looking for one sign that doesn't apply to you.

Sent by Zan

Five more to grow on

"Life is insensitive and the truth can be highly offensive. To hide from either is to hide from the reality of life." Neal Boortz

"A lot has been said about politics; some of it complimentary, but most of it accurate." Eric Idle

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with an average voter." Winston Churchill (On "majority rule")

"Dwelling on the past comes at the expense of preparing for the future." Dr. Walter Williams

"Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech." Benjamin Franklin

Selected

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