Donnerstag, 27. September 2012

Too much Education...

This brings us finally to the danger in education which few educators will ever admit - namely, the danger of too much of it. In some ideal sense one may certainly argue that one cannot get too much, but there are two realities which deny the possibility of the ideal so defined, (1) that education for living in an era at time t has to be given in era (t - 1), and (2) that when education exceeds the reasoning capacity of the student it can lead to more mistakes than would a "lower" level of education. Partly because of the mind's inherently very limited power to "transfer training," an intensive education often ties up the individual's skills and interests in forms which disqualify him for a changing world. In young countries such as America and Communist Russia, with enormous enthusiasm for education, the remark that a man might have too much school education is received with incredulity, but in older countries, such as France or Britain there are usually some rather esoteric expressions for indicating that a man may have "the defects of his education." Such observations as that James I was "the wisest fool in Christendom" or the old folk saying that a more dangerous fool than one who does not know, is one who does not know that he does not know, illustrate that the perception goes back over centuries. There is nothing to prevent intensive verbal education, for example, producing someone like Mrs. Malaprop. Indeed, investigation might well show that an appreciable fraction of our student population today has been endowed with a larger vocabulary than it can command, just as a young man can learn to play more pieces on the violin than his sense of pitch can sustain. The danger of over-education is well illustrated by Napoleon's comment at Jena, that his opponents had read too many books on tactics. Thus they became fair game for an intelligently original opponent. In the rapidly changing world ahead of us there is such a thing as being over-educated in out-worn skills, and made unaware of the limits of one's intelligence. Education to think, using analytical and research methods, and apprehending the limits of one's facts and abilities to reason, becomes the primary requirement.

Raymond Cattell, Beyondism - A New Morality From Science, 1972

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