James Bond Stockdale's ideal of true education simply put is an education that is well rounded with lessons that will help a person not only when things are going well, but also when times are tough. Anyone can steer the ship when the water is calm, but it takes a true captain to take the helm through a storm. True education encompasses modern lessons as well as an understanding of the antiquity. Coming from Stockdale, a political prisoner, this statement is not easily overlooked. Stockdale used true education to help him survive four years in solitary confinement.
Personally, I agree with Mr. Stockdale the way he uses his education in In War, In Prison, In Antiquity. That being said I am growing up in an age where classical education is losing its importance in many facets of American life. Before recently education was about furthering one's knowledge to become enlightened, today capitalism and a wealth of knowledge has forced education to become specialized for the individual to become a successful in his business endeavors, often leaving classical education behind. Past ages had teachers and professors that taught a general spectrum of curriculum such as history or math, now these teachers and professors have been forced to specialize. Other professions, too many to name, are applicable to this specialization as well. In the past individuals had to use their true education for survival, today's comforts have made that almost obsolete.
We have been spoiled for too long in America, one day we might find ourselves in WW III or an economic collapse destroying our comfortable situation. At this point true education will make a comeback in a strong way. We as a people will look for strong leaders and only those with a true education will be qualified. Stockdale's knowledge of what happened to Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote, assisted him in the situation he was in. Education is a tool that is there to serve us as we need it....
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