Post for Saturday, March 19, 2016

Dedicated to Jacqueline Frost Sylvester, 1926-1994

I, Wisdom, dwell in experience … By me kings reign, and lawmakers establish justice …

Prov 8: 12, 14

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Formal education is no match for wisdom, and it does not per se produce wisdom.

No, wisdom comes from experience, a life fully and richly lived – a life of challenges faced and lessons learned.

In our culture we have erroneously elevated the college degree and “education,” and assigned to particular institutions a mystical status that would have us think that its graduates are “special” because they graduated from X or Y university.

Case in point, we tout the education of the man whose name has been advanced as a replacement for deceased Supreme Court Justice Scalia, because he went to X University and X Law School.

Frankly, so what.

What has he done to acquire Wisdom?  What foxhole has he been in?  Has he served in combat?  Been in a street fight?  Survived tragedy?  Done anything heroic?  Excelled in something that imposed a physical challenge?  Been knocked down and gotten up?

As a man with a law degree, two master degrees and an admission to a Ph.D. program at M.I.T., I can tell you that education is dandy, but not in itself sufficient to lead anyone, anywhere.  Wisdom is needed and that comes from experience, life experience.

I add one more critical observation about my fellow lawyers: there is no particular challenge to becoming a lawyer.  If you want a real challenge try getting a Ph.D. in neural systems as my son did.  That is an achievement, becoming a lawyer is not.

And I add this: a person with but a law degree is far less informed and insightful than one with a law degree and additional knowledge in philosophy, theology, the sciences, engineering, history, finance, psychology, literature, mathematics – things that teach you about life.

Let’s get off the “kick” to assume that education breeds wisdom – it does nothing of the kind.