This post was written by Max G. and published on his behalf by Naveed Iqbal.
Learning is the most valuable thing in life
- I believe that lifelong learning is the most valuable thing in life; I have spent the vast majority of my life (and will gladly spend many more years) gathering and sharing information, both as a student and colleague.
- Learning allows us to improve our own mental health and outlook, and contribute positively to society.
Learning about the world around us helps to deepen our appreciation for natural beauty, mechanical elegance, and artistic works.
I believe Socrates once said
True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.
Indeed, understanding the likely causes and mechanics behind a phenomenon such as the low rumble of a thunderstorm on a summer night, or the painterly stratifications and curious structures in the rock on an excavated hillside, only increases one's sense of mystery and awe.
- Every field of study, from art history and anthropology through medicine and molecular biology, has something of value to offer to every other: without a diversity of perspectives contributing to an informed discussion, novel combinations of ideas are less likely, so problems don't tend to get solved as quickly.
Everyone is better off when there are lower financial barriers to education
The impacts of improved education on outcomes from social mobility to health are well documented, particularly when education is available early and often; one does not have to be a rocket scientist to guess as to the net positive impacts such improvements would have on society as a whole.
In a world where systems have increased by orders of magnitude in connectedness, volume, and variety in the past few decades, cross-functional teams of well-trained individuals are essential to creating effective products and solutions to the problems we care about, whether that is better Netflix video streaming or establishing a human colony on Mars.
Conversely, the negative impacts of debt and financial stress, both on an individual and societal level, are just as well documented. All the education in the world will not save your finances unless properly applied, and more unfortunately, the economic impacts of college debt and the higher educations services only serve to exacerbate existing inequalities in our higher education system.
Everyone has the right to financial freedom
Finance seems to be in the sweet spot where abstract thinking, long-term planning, and quantification of risk intersect, all of which tend to be difficult for people no matter their level of education.
New graduates are hit with student debt right when they are in the best position to apply their new found skills, whether they want to pursue public service, academia, or entrepreneurship. The trade-offs in financial decisions (what payment plan should I choose? what are the tax consequences? Is it worth it to pursue public service loan forgiveness? etc.) are legitimately nontrivial as it is.
Moreover, most people that I know with debt (myself included) struggled or continue to struggle with their mental models for the time value of money.
Perhaps this speaks to a demographic difference, but when one considers the inter-generational and societal effects that education can have beyond the individual, it is clear that improved tools can benefit everyone.
Max G. | Technology