It seems to me that every time I fly in the US, I end up seeing the HSBC advertisements about future possibilities somewhere in the terminal. I like the advertisements in general and this one in particular because of its underlying assumption: that education is not the wisest investment today. The advertisement states that: “In the future, education could be your wisest investment.” This means that currently education is not “your wisest investment” and it might be true.
The key two questions very quickly become:
1. Why is education currently not the wisest investment?
2. What would make education the wisest investment?
The answer to the first question is undoubtedly complex, but I believe that it might connect with the idea that education does not currently facilitate for everyone to identify, take ownership of, express, and manifest who they uniquely are. At the same time, content is becoming increasingly free, and so the value of education emerges in relationships and interactions. In this way, education can offer as much a self-sustainable livelihood as a self-sufficient life.
So if education were able to do this, then maybe it would be the wisest investment. The underlying reason why education is not the wisest investment today is because it is misaligned with our goals in this life. Alignment is not enough, though. Education and another activity could be properly aligned with our goals and yet education does not necessarily have to advance us as deeply as that other activity. Hence, for education to be the absolutely wisest investment, it must align appropriately with our goals for this life as well as advance us along our trajectory more meaningfully than any other activity.
That is a daring challenge, and one definitely worth pursuing. And I believe wholeheartedly that this is a vision that will require a much more expanded view of education. An investment that goes beyond schools and homework and into emergent settings, beyond teachers and students and into supportive partnerships, beyond mind and brain and into integrated understanding. In the end, wise investments require wisdom to recognize their value. Wise investments also require a commitment to one desire: why invest in anything less?