Saturday, February 04, 2006

Giftedness & Intelligence

The western world is full of people who are being deprived of a meaningful life -- simply because they lack a suitable sheet of "parchment". Credentials are (quite factually) increasingly meaningless.

Real KNOWLEDGE and an ability to apply it, is not meaningless.

Over the years, I have received volumes of correspondence from folks -- who (although already gainfully employed, would like to attain even greater position through the acquisition of enhanced credentials), but who lacked the time or inclination or money to go back to school to get them -- to go to the next level of some degree or other. Those who are already making a living for themselves, are usually not all that needy. Whereas, there are others who cannot make ends meet -- the ones who have trouble maintaining a place to live (or do not have a place to live) and a lack of food or clothing -- for want of a "degree".

Those are the people who have cause to take drastic measures in their pursuit of life; if a person cannot even manage the basic necessities of life, one cannot keep on living. But if one is already making a living and one merely wants a better job, then one could consider getting a "impress others" degree. This is not something I can suggest to you (or anyone) or to take lightly. It's expensive and it may well be a waste of your time. Some may try to convince you to the contrary.

Regrettably, there are many jobs in the world that should not require any credentials at all, but for which mindless employers will want a degree anyway. Watch out for the growth of "double-speak" -- where a Sanitary Engineer is a plumber, and a Logistics Specialist drives a semi-truck. Everything (these days) must adhere to non-spoken rules and also be politically correct -- and, to degrees (pun intended), linguistically sophisticated.

A favorite example of double-speak:

"Industrial Poultry Production Building" (AKA 'chicken coop')

Is that where a farmer becomes an engineer? I see...

In my own professional example -- as a computer expert (excuse me, an "Information Technology Engineer"), one of my many areas of expertise, I can attest to having seen postings for jobs in related fields which require knowledge that anyone could learn at home, yet which require a Bachelor of Science degree on the open market. And that's intrinsically stupid.

This is when it comes time to consider whether you really want to spend a lot of money to get an "over-the-counter" degree, or invest in the YEARS to have something that carries real REAL prestige and that requires REAL knowledge that will last for YEARS.

Real KNOWLEDGE -- like what a truly competent person can profess and can provide.

After all, only RESULTS count! But there are many jobs in the world which place a tremendous amount of responsibility in the hands of the employee. Many top scientists and engineers (AKA 'perfectionists') ultimately do create things that will affect the world around us for years to come (as I have done). And the importance of those developments places a great demand on the training and knowledge ability of the people who create them.

Or does it? That people in those positions could be willing to take over-the-counter shortcuts in matters of such importance is MORE than slightly disturbing. It is one thing to try and forgo a degree for a dinky job somewhere, but when people honestly think that they can become a medical practitioner or a genetic engineering scientist within a few months of study via the Internet, I really begin to worry... That's VERY "un-accredited" to say the least. But a degree for the degree's sake is NOT knowledge, nor prestigious, nor even a credential. I suppose that what I encourage is a form of vigilantism -- of taking the law into your own hands because of a perceived injustice. And while vigilantism may occasionally be called for in some circumstances, the problem with it is that it depends on the judgment of the general public.

People who see themselves as creating a justice that "The System" failed to create may actually be creating an injustice. This is because "justice" is all in the eye of the beholder, and what seems right to one person may not seem right to another. And if you've spent any length of time studying what people do in their lives, you will probably agree with me when I say that there are a great many people in this world whose judgment is rather questionable and even dangerous.

I would be one to formulate a call to arms of the oppressed people of this world -- to make a life for themselves without depending on the (financially, self-vested) educational system to create a phony baloney, false-representation of "having a life" ...on a piece of paper.

Whereas, for those who actually want to pursue jobs that win Nobel prizes, they'll need to work up from the bottom... acquire REAL knowledge through learning. And THAT may prove to be VERY difficult for some pretenders! If a person is actually decided upon becoming a scientist, then it will actually be NECESSARY to learn (and there's no faking real know-how).

When I've complained that the information taught in university classrooms is largely useless, I say this because it will only be of "use" by a small fraction of people in the world. It is useful to people who are going to actually get jobs in very specialized fields -- and even then, only useful if they KNOW how to APPLY what they (hopefully) learned.

Most people echo. They do not learn. To REMEMBER is to KNOW. Knowledge can be applied. Titles are quite meaningless. Yet there are a few people in the world who do in fact get such jobs, and if you want to be one of those people, then you too could go to an accredited university and get your degree the "real", four-year, six-year, eight-year way. If you are fortunate enough to be deemed as "gifted", maybe sooner... Those courses were made specifically for the motivated, so the wise use them wisely.

By the way, I have also had a great many people ask me for personal recommendations about specific accredited and non-accredited universities. My answer is always the same: I have no specific recommendations. I never sought any "mail-ordered", non-accredited degrees myself, because I saw myself as a scientist who wanted to design components for space and the avionics that control supersonic aircraft -- and I did just that.

For today, I've become a simple worker -- one who is happy to be THINKING for a living, and not leaning on a meaningless piece of parchment that "says" that I know what I know -- when I already knew that I knew. Meanwhile, if I ever want to flaunt what society "thinks" is needed to show-off what I KNOW, then the parchments can be produced at will.

There are other (far more important) things to think about. For most people, God given intelligence and innate aptitude count -- nothing else really does.

And so it is...

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