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Steve_A's avatar

Does having an education always mean you will have a better understanding?

Asked by Steve_A (5120points) September 9th, 2010

They say knowledge power. Is it all in how you use it?

Does being more “smart” however you define it mean that people will understand the world better?

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16 Answers

LuckyGuy's avatar

Not always, but it sure helps.

CMaz's avatar

Yes and no.

JLeslie's avatar

No. There are plenty of educated people that do stupid hateful things. But, statistically probably the odds are better that educated people have a better understanding of the world, more exposure. Actually, being worldly is probably more important than a formal education when it comes to tolerance and understanding. Education generally has more to do with socio-economics.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

It depends on what you mean by education – people can have degrees but little sense and vice versa. On the other hand, I do not discount going to college or pursuing a PhD in favor of the ‘degree of hard knocks’ – people love to say how they never needed an education because they had such a tough life and so forth – no reason to not have both, in my opinion. It’s like this, a logical open-minded person will learn a lot both from ‘being real and working’ and from going to school.

YoBob's avatar

No, not always. However, what a formal education does give you, in addition to the opportunity to learn more about a subject of interest, is credentials.

When you are trying to secure a job, be it with an existing company or as an independent provider of some sort of service, the people hiring you do not yet know you personally and have nothing other than your word and previously documented work/educational experience on which to judge you. You might be the smartest person in the world with an amazing depth of knowledge about your field of interest. However, at the end of the day your perspective employer has no way of verifying that other than taking a look at the formal certifications and/or prior work experience.

weeveeship's avatar

There is a difference between book knowledge and practical knowledge. Let’s take finance as an example.

At school, you can learn about the theories of finance: ratios, capital budgeting, cash flow analysis. That is good background information.

However, out in the real world, it takes more than just knowing a few formulas and methods to succeed. You need to know how to pitch a deal. You need to know how to get the right connections. And if you are a trader, you need to know technical analysis, which is often derided as voodoo but actually has some use in the real world.

Nullo's avatar

Not always. I knew a junior in college who wasn’t all that bright.
We were discussing guns. He said that they were evil. After asking him to tell me what part of the gun was evil, I showed him a powder fastener, which is functionally identical to some firearms and he started behaving like a gun nut.

wilma's avatar

No not always. Common sense, experience, life lessons, genetics, and formal education all play a part in “understanding”.

free_fallin's avatar

My definition of education incorporates life lessons into it. I think education can give you a better understanding certainly in respects to book sense and street sense. The more knowledge I have about a subject, the more I can attempt to understand it. Sure there are people who have tons of knowledge and hardly any understanding but I believe that is a rarity.

Trillian's avatar

A good education certainly helps, but critical thinking skills are essential. One must be able to step back from any position and look objectively, thinking things through from all angles. There are many educated people who are just as blind/stubborn and narrow minded as any non educated lout out there. They cannot see past their own concerns and narrow view of the world because they lack critical thought capabilities.

GeorgeGee's avatar

No. Having an education won’t develop a better understanding if it’s not a good education. Some “education” serves only to indoctrinate. If you start off knowing the basics of science/evolution for instance, and then spend 4 years in “The Far Right Bible College of Eastern Indiana,” you can expect have a worse understanding of science including evolution, as a result. You will likely be better at reciting passages of scripture however, and they will have tried to convince you that there is nothing else of importance.

Akua's avatar

Book Smarts (intellectual intelligence) has nothing to do with emotional or social intelligence. I work with School Psychologists who have Masters degress and PhD’s and they are the most emotionally and socially stunted people I have ever met. Their emotionally crippled.

mrrich724's avatar

Not always, but I can say that it will have probably opened up your mind enough to be open to and capable of understanding things from different perspectives.

Those who are uneducated (in my experience) seem to have a hard time seeing anything from more than whatever perspective they are inherently (for one reason or another) partial to.

ETpro's avatar

Depends on the topic. A PhD in Physics wouldn’t make a fellow smarter about survival in the amazon Rain Forrest that a Bora Indian who had never spent a day in any sort of school, but knows the forrest, the river and survival skills for them like he knows his mother’s name.

But yank the two of them out of the Amazon and give they one day to prepare themselves for survival in the Gobi Desert and I’d bet on the PhD to do far better than the Indian.

Andreas's avatar

@ETpro But yank the two of them out of the Amazon and give they one day to prepare themselves for survival in the Gobi Desert and I’d bet on the PhD to do far better than the Indian.

Maybe, maybe not. It would certainly be an interesting thing to watch. I think in this extreme case it might be a draw.

ETpro's avatar

@Andreas I’ve got first dibs on the reality show. Trust me, this one’s a killer idea.

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