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Noface
R N
Posted 11 months ago
Is college really as important as our society today has made it out to be?
College certainly is not as important as our society today "has made it out to be". The hyperbole surrounding higher education is part of a broader societal misconception about human happiness. Even the positive psychology movement, a movement built on the objective of promoting the use of psychological methods to enrich lives and increase happiness, has found in their own studies that happiness is 50% genetic. Given that the movement is ideologically biased against such a finding, my guess is that well more than half of your subjective well-being is based on what mom and dad gave you to work with (genetically-speaking). To me, this suggests that there are, in fact, very few decisions that will dramatically alter your day-to-day mood (other than, say, getting addicted to heroin, where you could chemically damage the very parts of your brain that deal with certain pleasures). So, no, going to college won't give you all the answers you're looking for, guarantee a successful adult life, or even ensure you meet the right people to "get ahead". And, in and of itself, college isn't going to make you a happier person. However, depending on what you want, attending college can increase the likelihood of certain positive outcomes: financial freedom and a satisfying career (though there is some debate as to whether this is correlation or causation). These outcomes, while not dramatically transforming your experience for the better, can make life somewhat more meaningful, comfortable, and rewarding. The question for you, Colin, is how sure are you that you have "figured it out"? If you really just want to live in an apartment and "enjoy the small things in life" then college would be a waste of your time. However if, for example, you find you want a family then you are going to have to think about how you will support them. Providing well for your family will require money. And college is one way of increasing your chances of having those resources.
Noface
R N
Posted 11 months ago
Is equality feasible and is it worth achieving? Subquestion: By your definitions, is equality synonymous with fairness?
I conceptualize fairness to mean "a state where outcomes are based upon a reasonable set of rules that are consistently applied across the population," whereas I conceptualize equality to mean "a state where outcomes are the same across the population". Given the varying abilities of individuals within a population, an equal outcome would almost certainly require an unfair system. Theoretically, I would be in favor of promoting a culture of fairness by eliminating institutionalized favoritism: no more college legacies and no more affirmative action. However, we will never be able to eliminate informal favoritism, such as nepotism and networking. This means that even under such a scenario where institutionalized favoritism is removed, wealth and power will still have the ability to beget wealth and power through informal means. This means the wealth and status of your parents will always have an unfair (by my definition of fairness) impact on where you end up in life. The only way to eliminate this effect would be if we all started off with the exact same resources (my definition of equality). Therefore, it would seem, a society cannot be fair unless it is equal and a society that is equal is almost certainly unfair.
Noface
R N
Posted 11 months ago
If you could give your twenty-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be? Why?
I spent my late twenties trying to fix what I had messed up in my teens and early twenties. I graduated from college with a meaningless major and no sense of direction. Eventually, I was able to backtrack, pick up the pieces, and take a bunch of useful post-bac courses. Through hard work and a lot of luck, I was ultimately able to get into medical school. So I ended up in a good place, but it took much longer to get there than it should have. It would be sweet and poetic to tell you that the journey was worth it, but the truth is that all I see when I look back is how I wasted a few years of my life. I would like to have those years back. What I would tell my twenty-year-old self is the following: The ideal of wandering in your twenties to try to "find yourself" is overrated. Move more purposefully. Try to figure things out quickly and efficiently. If you know what you're interested in and what you want, don't be afraid to grow up quickly and seize it. Life's too short to be reckless with your twenties. Only my $0.02, of course, Morgan. In the end, only you will be able decide what makes life meaningful for you. And a slew of internet comments shouldn't sway your internal compass. But I'd like to add my voice to the ether with the overall message that there really is such thing as "wasted time", and you may have to live quite deliberately in order to avoid it.