An educated person is a well rounded person. To be educated is to knowledgeable in
many areas. Diversity is essential in the sense that many different things inspire thought,
which then derive permanent conclusions from these experiences. Anyone who has the
audacity to call themselves educated needs to have a firm grasp of many different areas.
These categories span through Science, Technology, Language, Art, Feelings and Values.
All of these are building blocks that help make up an educated person, but just as
important, these are the same qualities that form an individual.
One of the most important concepts that a person learns from Science is a
fundamental thinking process. This process starts with curiosity, asking the question,"
Why does that work?" It then moves on to theorizing or guessing. Next, this person
takes his or her theory and puts it to the test by conducting various experiments. Finally
this individual will draw a final conclusion from those findings. Science also helps a
person look at things objectively, which means there is no feelings influencing
experiments that can lead to fraudulent conclusions. This can be a double edged sword
however, because in many instances when a scientist is emotionally removed from the
experiments performed, the question, "Should I?", is never asked. For instance under the
reign of Hitler many cruel medical experiments were preformed. In The Medical
Experiments by William Shirer the author states,"Prisoners were placed in high pressure
chambers and subjected to high-altitude tests until they ceased breathing. They were
injected with lethal doses of typhus and jaundice. They were subjected to 'freezing'
experiments in icy water or exposed naked in the snow outdoors until they froze to
death." This also deals with the subject of values and will be discussed detail later.
Probably the most positive way to utilize Science would be to take it to the next
level, Technology. This is were an educated person takes what laws and theories he
learns in science and integrates them into everyday life, finding ways to make life easier
and arguably better. I say arguably because many educated people are against
technological advancement. These philosophers say that technologies are being probed
without understanding and therefore they are being abused. These philosophers feel that
this will be the chief downfall of humankind. Mary E. Clark showed her opposition in
her article Science and Values, in which she states,"When such knowledge is used to
manipulate Nature we call it 'technology', and over the past century this manipulative
capacity has grown to the point where we can now annihilate ourselves as a species."
Another important aspect of being an educated person is a firm grasp of the use of
Language. This person needs to develop the gift of relating his thoughts and feelings into
a clear and interesting way. Many people try to use large words and awkward vocabulary
to sound educated, but a true educated person can relate an idea in a way that any person
In his article Simplicity, William Zinsser advocates this idea when he makes points like,
"We are a society strangling in unnecessary words, circular constructions, pompous frills
and meaningless jargon."and,"The person snoozing in a chair, holding a magazine or
book, is a person who was being given too much unnecessary trouble by the writer." To
be an educated person is a person that not only can relate ideas to someone else, he can
also understand other peoples ideas and feelings and can use them to draw over all
conclusions to answer the questions at hand.
In addition an educated person must be in touch with inner feelings, this person
must know thyself, and must value the importance of feelings and life itself. Robertson
Davies in his article about people with emotional atrophy called The Deadliest of Sins,
says this about these people, "They seldom make mistakes, because they never put
themselves in a position where they are not complete masters of the situation....they have
died to joy and pain and thus feeling." One can not be educated without experiencing the
joys and pains of life, this would leave nothing to learn from.
One aspect of being considered educated that is imperative is the ability to
communicate, or in some situations, vent his or her feelings in a positive matter. This
demonstrates pure knowledge of ones own spirit. One of the best ways to do this is
through an artistic medium. This is the main reason why so many artists are referred to
as ingenious. These people not only display feelings constructively, they do it in such an
interestingly radical way that they invoke emotional responses from their admirers. Art
has the ability to express feelings better than any words from any language. Susanne K.
Langer in her article The Cultural Importance of Art states,"There is, however, an
important part of reality that is quite inaccessible to the formative influence of language:
that is the realm of so-called "inner experience," the life of feeling and emotion.
All of these attributes lose power without an individual set of values to focus this
energy. Adolf Hitler influenced millions by being a masterful orator. Hitler also was
very innovative in science and many other areas. However do to his grossly warped
sense of personal values he was labelled by leaders and peers as a madman.
It is very difficult for any person to be a master of all of these categories, but to be
truly educated, there needs to be at least a small concentration of everything in that
individual's background. For the one reason that it is so difficult to posses all of these
traits, it is also that same reason that makes all of the truly educated people of our past
stand out in history as heros and leaders. This is also the biggest reason that so many
people admire them and strive to be like them.
Do You Have What it Takes?
A breakdown of the educated person
by Thomas Burkhardt