While on my routine cemetery visits earlier on today, to commune with a long dead friend now a permanent resident at a cemetery for spiritual, mind and soul nourishment, my long dead friend, started off our chillingly silent conversation with a flurry of questions that seemed rather obvious however turned out to be unexpectedly challenging.
How is your education? Do you have any skills? What are your skills? My long dead friend’s voice sounded, rather calmly.
My education? Which education? I calmly asked back in amazement.
Education, the socialisation process through which society subjects its individual members for the purpose of creating a collective, preferably, similar although not identical social mind. My long dead friend’s crisp voice clarified.
How can I possibly know and/or be able to tell the level of my education? I asked, even more amazed and confused. I would suppose, based on that definition of education, that only society, collectively, can judge its members’ education levels but not easy for an individual. I further proffered.
Yes, you’re right. Society does judge the education levels of its members, individually and collectively but, each individual member of society can tell their level of education by their place in society. My long dead friend’s voice asserted.
Human society is stratified in various ways and categorically places its members in various groups, according to many criteria but education takes priority. Where you stand in society, i.e, in relation to your immediate social cohorts, is a good measure of your social education. My long dead friend’s voice bellowed, jolting my now clearly disconcerted mind into an “Ah” moment!
So, are you saying our social education will and does determine our places in society? I, childishly, asked.
Yes, precisely! I mean and am saying, quite emphatically, that. My long dead friend’s voice emphasised.
How do I get and increase my social education? I asked, curiously.
Develop a strong, deep passion to understand society. Study society and the complex dynamics of social interaction. Study and understand human interaction, human relationships, how people in society relate with and speak to each other. While you do, take great caution, be prepared for and expect the unexpected. There are innumerable hazards along this study and educational path. For instance, don’t, as a matter of guiding principle in your study of society and on your journey to acquire social education, ever talk about truth. It’s an almost insurmountable obstacle in such pursuit. Keep your truth passion to yourself; if you can, it is highly advisable to completely kill truth – the idea of truth, and more so, telling truth. It’s a dangerous thing, because truth – whatever that means, is the greatest enemy to society.
Always remember, although society talks so passionately about truth, publicly praises those who tell truth, it secretly resents truth and people who tell truth. Remember too, truth is analogous to the blind and an elephant, each of us in society have our own perspective of [to] truth.
Equally important, remember too, despite our social education that seeks to create a collective, similar social mind, we are still different from each other. As such, don’t ever treat and speak to people the same. Know who you are speaking to, adjust to their level.
My long dead friend’s voice, finally settled into a pause of silence after delivering that critical call of social awareness. We both settled into a recess of deep reflective silence that seemed to have gone on for eternity before my long dead friend’s voice broke the silence.
Once you understand that – my long dead friend’s voice, after breaking our deep reflective silence, went on – continue your studies of society and adjust accordingly, ensuring you don’t raise suspicion by being and/or acting conspicuously different from the rest around you, then you have a social education, essential in society.
That’s your education! But do you have any skills? What are your skills?
Oh! Skills? My skills? What do you mean, skills? I asked, with a sense of resignation because, at this point, I no longer trusted my own little knowledge of things [KoT].
What can you do, on your own? What are your abilities? My long dead friend’s voice, repeated, audibly exasperated by my rather ignorant questions and a clear lack of self-knowledge.
I paused, tried to think and reflect on my skills but I struggled. Feeling rather embarrassed by my inability to not only articulate my skills but also to distinguish between my social education and skills, I flatly but with a deep inner feeling of shame, responded, none. I have no skills.
No. That’s not true. My long dead friend’s voice, audibly softer and with concerned kindness, interjected. You certainly do have skills, immense skills. You’re simply ignorant of what skills you have. It’s obvious you underestimate yourself, your abilities and sell yourself too short because you have no clear perception of your skill sets.
But, unfortunately, you aren’t alone. There are many people who have no idea about what their skills and/or abilities are simply because they confuse their social education with [for] skills. My long dead friend’s voice, sounding rather re-assuring, asserted, while I listened with a sense of helplessness and disappointment at myself.
You mean there’s a difference between our social education or what we call education and skills? I asked. Yes! there’s, although the general tendency is to ignorantly confuse qualifications, degrees, certifications, for education and skills. Contrary to general perception and assumption, not all educated people have skills, although they may have immense knowledge and/or information about many things.
Not all people with degrees and/or certifications have skills, corresponding with their degrees and/or certifications. There’s evidently a gap between degrees, certifications and real skills, in some if not many cases although the degrees and certifications are supposed to indicate, to prove one has a certain level of skills.
In the same vein, not all presumably uneducated people lack skills. Many do have a lot of skills, acquired skills from what they do in society, primarily, for a living or survival. My long dead friend’s voice continued.
Their skills may not be or match what society obsessed with qualifications, degrees and certifications wants or requires but that does not mean they have no skills. This is the tragedy in society. But the good news is that, it provides opportunity to blend education with skills.
Now, the task for you, my long dead friend’s voice raised for my attention, went on, is to figure out, through a personal skills assessment, what your overall skills, core skills are, in relation to your social education and the needs of your society
Importantly, stop underestimating and selling yourself short. Make yourself [into] a valuable product. Put, not an inflated but reasonably high value on yourself based on your demonstrable skills, social or otherwise, and demand the right price. Do not accept anything below. Do not under-price or overprice yourself.
I was standing still throughout and during that enlightening hour or so, long moment. I left overwhelmed with feelings of emptiness, of not knowing who I am, what I am capable of, what my skills are or whether, indeed, I have any skills. I cursed but was thankful for the moment.