Feb. 15th, 2012

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I have been selfish and ignorant.

To start at the beginning.. This time, 100 years ago, children did not regularly attend school. Life was not as complex then, and a person could begin work as young as they wished if they were to lie about it. And paperwork could be easily forged, and so the liability had been lifted from the shoulders of corporations. Wish a lack of education, their job prospects were not that great, and they would live the life of the poor.

The way out, of course, was education. But to be able to afford an education, ones family had to make enough to get by. They had to work hard. And so it is today; mothers and fathers go to work and toil to eek out a living, and children are expected to attend school and become educated and eek out a slightly better living than their parents, such that all of humanity perpetually heads toward some greater good.

The system is a sham, to be sure. Teachers continually demand higher and higher wages, while giving less and less education in return. They concieve systems where they "be nice" to the students, allowing them to pass because they put out the effort. And if that isn't enough, they apply curves and such to the system so that one can hide a failing student amongst the good.

Here is the plain and simple of it all: A course should be designed so that the average student will retain about 70% of the material, hence a 70% average. If students are continually getting A's in a class, more material should be added. If they're continually failing, then material subtracted. There are several methods to corrupt this system; grading on curves covers up a professors failure to teach material, and asking obscure questions on exams in awkward ways artificially lowers grades to cover up a lack of teaching. More exist.

And so it is.

Now, here I am, with drive to learn. I buy books, I read them, study them, and work out the problems towhich I have also purchased the answers. I have paid tuition at a local college so that I may have someone to ask questions when I have them.

The courses are worthless; the teachers are usually inept. How are the poor and uneducated supposed to get ahead, when the very people who are supposed to educate them are equally uneducated? The standards system is obviously failing; the requirements to be a teacher are a masters degree. So the poor, uneducated person goes to school, where another poor and uneducated soul teaches them and stamps a pretty emblem on a pretty sheet of paper, and the poor and still uneducated person wanders on, believing they are now educated. But the falicy is that one cannot pass on what they don't know.

And so it is.

So how am I selfish? My mother paid for my education, and paid for me to live while getting that education, and once employed, I spent the money I earned on things for me. I bought a car, I moved, I bought a house... and I bought things to put into the house, and married a woman and spent more money on more things. And she? She is still paying for the education she has given me.

So the right thing to have done, which I can't do now because of the responsibility I have chosen to take on, is this:

Upon moving here, I should have taken immediately to a 24-hour gym with shower facilities and made my home between it and Coffee Oasis; living off the facilities, eeking out small meals that could be easily carried in a backpack, using the free-wifi and drinking coffee. All of this is within walking distance of work, so it would not be a problem to keep my car parked somewhere.

With no responsibilities at the time, I could have saved lots of cash and spent it on loans, both mine and my mothers. And how would I have spent my time? To properly answer that, I have to answer a different question first. At present, I spent the last 4 years entertaining myself with stupid online games and lolcat pictures. Instead, I should have spent the last 4 years reading and learning and studying, even if not at a university. I can buy any textbook I need digitally now, so the entire collection could be carried with ease.

Then I could have entered a marriage properly; debt-free and care-free, with several more years worth of learning under my hat.

But I was too ignorant to not be selfish, and so it is.

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Dennis Stout

May 2017

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