It continues to amaze me the difference a person's education plays in the way a person views the world around them. As I attempt to adapt my lifestyle to an area of the country in which my personal points of view are the minority it proves to be more and more difficult for me to do. Maybe this is why it has never been more apparent to me that education plays a key role in the way a person views the world. That being said he who imparts or teaches the education holds tremendous power and responsibility as the effect of the knowledge they impart will be with their pupils for the rest of their life.
I guess where I am having a problem is that I remember clearly my education. I remember watching educational movies that depicted horrible living conditions and hopelessness in the worlds poorest nations. I remember thinking that the economists viewpoints depicted in these films were ludicrous and could not believe that anyone could really believe the tripe that was coming out of these people's mouths. Imagine how difficult it is for me now that I am sitting in economics class hearing some of the same things coming out of my teacher's mouth. Don't get me wrong. I can see some of the points that he makes, however, that makes it even harder for me to stay focused however because that means it is his ideologies that I am not able to accept, rather than the information he is trying to impart. How do you argue with that and would there be any point in arguing since I represent the extreme minority viewpoint now?
Maybe this is a test. Maybe it is an opportunity for me to develop my ideals and find a way to defend them in the face of opposition. I know well that I need to improve my argumentative style, maybe thatis what I was put here to do. This brings me to a very cool quote that I have to learn for my philosopy (logic class).
"He who knows only one side of an argument knows neither"
I am trusting in the fact that this is my task. I am the first to admit that I find it extremely difficult to understand (and accept) the opposing viewpoint. I would like to be able to accurately say it is because the argument is unsound, however, at this point in time I can not always do that.
That brings me back to my economics class. I found myself becoming frustrated by the subject matter yesterday. We were talking about the economic state of the US and how the GDP gap keeps growing wider every year. This brought us to a discussion of poverty. It is ridiculous to me to compare poverty levels between the richest and poorest countries, yet that is what we were doing. I can't even begin to comprehend how this remains a problem in a country that produces so much per capita. If the wealthiest country in the world faces the problem of a high percentage its population living in poverty how is it that we do not expect some of the poorest countries in the world to have this problem on a grander scale. Isn't it incorrect to assume that the solution to closing the gap is not to increase poverty levls worldwide but to overcome poverty on a whole. I know that what I talk about is easier said than done, however, that is where we as a society have the responsibility of analyzing why we consider that to be so. How difficult is it to be less selfish, more compassionate, and more giving? I know some would argue that it is VERY DIFFICULT (impossible even) to get everyone to agree to help out their fellow man. I would argue "how much wealth does one person realistically need or even deserve? I mean really, doesn't there come a point where you can't spend any more money on yourself? Doesn't there dawn a time when you have everything that you could possibly need??? I guess I have an easier time accepting this because I am not a wealthy person, or at least that would be what my opposition would imply. I personally think it is because care about making the world a better place, no matter how idealistic my views of the world may be.
In conclusion, I have the daunting task of broadening my horizons and learning something new. I will continue to keep you up to date on my progress in this endeavor. Keep an eye open for my first philosophy assignment in which I am supposed to argue if the war in Iraq is justified. This should be interesting ;-) I will post my essay online so you can comment as usual :-P