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Lesson from Mr. Feeny

Something recently reminded me about an old episode of Boy Meets World where Mr. Feeny gets upset about the behavior of Corry, Sean and Topanga on a educational quiz show. The show became watered down, and the questions became about popular culture, losing all real educational value.

Standing at the front of the room, he reminds us that in the time of the Gutenberg Printing Press, people thirsted for more reading material. They would have to wait several month for a new book, and now there is a new website every second. As the bell rings, the students start to
move to get up and leave the class; he says "Sit down. Everyday you walk out on me. Today, for the first time ever, I chose to walk out on you."

Why don't students in high school and most undergraduate programs take their education more seriously? Why do even people who have a college education lack a sense of intellectual curiosity? Why after the long fight for the ability to do research without threat from the governmental and religious authority have we stopped examining the world?

Someone I work with insists that there is strong and wide spread anti-intellectual sentiment in this country; but I disagree. Anti-intellectual would require active care, but instead the asses are apathetic. Most Americans have no time to care about the political issues that affect their daily life, they break on issues down party lines without considering the issue or are for and against legislation based on a cursory glance without considering the more widespread issues. This isn't just fighting the "educated elite" (that my co-worker thinks exists), but rather an intellectual laziness.

I think that everyone has two sides, one side that is motivated and curious, and the other is lazy and apathetic. Depending on topic, motivation, life goals and life obstacle attribute to any given person's drive. Modern technology, especially television and the Internet can attract our attention, become an obstacle and deplete our drives. We are a microwave culture, and true understanding is a Crockpot task; you can't understand in depth concepts completely from a quick Wikipedia page and short YouTube video.

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