The Humble Libertarian

Mind your business.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Genius is Not Educated

It’s nice to read about the value of failure...But really, I don’t think that revolutionary thinking can be educated, and I think it’s foolish (and possibly even counter-productive) to try. School by definition inculcates systematic thinking, methodology and dogma. It inculcates competence. That’s generally a good thing; surgeons, medical researchers, lawyers, engineers, musicians and all manner of professionals need to be competent to function. Innovation is not necessarily inherent in any of those fields. But genius and revolutionary thinking is not really about competence and confidence. Malcolm Gladwell is famous for formulating the idea that with 10,000 hours of practice, it is possible to master a skill. "The key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours.". So is 10,000 hours of practice all that stands between incompetence and world-changing greatness? Gladwell grandly theorises that many famous history-changers (“outliers”) like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and the Beatles got to where they did with 10,000 hours of practice....I tend to believe that today’s education system is fit for its own purposes; it churns out competent thinkers, competent doers, people who can analyse to a framework and work to a deadline. True autodidacts and philosophers (in the most literal sense of the word — lovers of thinking, learning and wisdom) will find their own way.
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Judy Morris,
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