Sunday, June 14, 2015


(Autodidactism = self education)

My two oldest grandchildren (the twins) started college last Fall.

Although I kept my big mouth shut, I was really conflicted about it.   The education racket today, particularly at the University level,  is very little more than anti-American indoctrination.

However, they've got us between a rock and a hard place.  A liberal Art degree from most colleges isn't worth the paper it's
written on (as far as true knowledge is concerned), but without it, very few companies will hire you.  They use that piece of paper as an invitation to be interviewed by prospective employers.  It's simply a "shortcut." 

It's a Hell of a price to pay for an "admission" ticket.

Some of the smartest people I've ever known were those with the least “schooling.”

I'm not talking about the “least educated.”

The ones I'm talking about are those who are “self educated” going way beyond what any “formal institution can offer. There's a big difference.

The solution is "self education."

But realistically, that won't work, because it goes against "human nature."  It takes a very special person to discipline himself enough to become truly "educated."  

Besides, you still won't have that paper ticket.

I've heard it said that all we ever “learn” is what we teach ourselves. I think that's true. Even with the help of “professors and instructors” it's up to each one of us to “hit the save button” in our brain.

One of the best examples of the modern “self educated” man is perhaps Eric Hoffer,
Hoffer at "work break"
the “Longshoreman Philosopher.”Before he burst onto the National Screen with his first book, “The True Believer,” Hoffer had worked as a migrant laborer in the California fields and after being turned down by the Army because of his eyesight in 1942, he became a Longshoreman in San Francisco.He lived by himself in a single room, owned next to nothing except his work clothes, some writing supplies and a library card.

Eric Hoffer
No one is sure of Hoffer's early life.  His own tale of his mother falling while holding him as a child resulting in his being blind for his first 15 years for example doesn't pass the "smell" test.  It would, however, explain the absence of any school records. Most other records of his early years are also missing.

I think the best guess is that he was an illegal Jewish immigrant from Germany and was hiding that fact since back then he could have been deported at any time.

Whatever...we are richer for having had his wisdom.


"To grow old is to grow common. Old age equalizes...we are aware that what is happening to us has happened to untold numbers from the beginning of time. When we are young, we act as if we were the first young people in the world."

Dock Workers
"The greatest weariness comes from work not done.

"An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head.”

"In a world of change, the learners shall inherit the earth, while the learned shall find themselves perfectly suited for a world that no longer exists.”

"You can never get enough of what you don't need to make you happy.”
 Eric Hoffer 

"The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.” 
 Eric Hoffer

“Anger is the prelude to courage.”

It has often been said that power corrupts, but it is perhaps equally important to realize that weakness too corrupts.  Power corrupts the few, while weakness corrupts the many. Hatred, malice, rudeness, intolerance and suspicion are the faults of weakness.  The resentment of the weak does not spring from any injustice done to them, but from their sense of inadequacy and impotence. We cannot win the weak by sharing our wealth with them.  They feel our generosity as oppression."

"Disappointment is a sort of bankruptcy...the bankruptcy of a soul that expends too much in hope and expectation."

"Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength."

Finally,  Hoffer on education itself:

"The central task of education is to implant a will and a 

facility for learning; it should produce not learned, but

learning people. The truly human society is a learning 


where grandparents, parents, and children are students


In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the 


The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a

 world that no longer exists."

Mr. Hoffer's first book, ''The True Believer,'' was published in 1951. He continued working along the docks as a member of the International Longshoreman's and Warehouseman's Union and wrote between work assignments.
He left the docks in 1967. In 1970 he withdrew from public life, saying: ''I'm going to crawl back into my hole where I started. 
“There is no greater threat to sanity than the taking of one’s life too seriously. No one will miss us long when we are gone. No one will lose his appetite because we are no more.”

Eric Hoffer left this world in 1983.


Other famous autodidacts:
  • Playwright George Bernard Shaw left formal education while still in his mid-teens to become a clerk at an estate firm. He compared schools to prison and said that "I did not learn anything at school."[8]
  • Ernest Hemingway, the American novelist and short story writer, was primarily self-educated after high school. "... he read for hours at a time in bed", recounted his sister Marcelline. "He read everything around the house—all the books, all the magazines, even the AMAJournals from Dad's office downstairs. Ernie also took out great numbers of books from the public library."[9] His father wanted him to go to Oberlin for college, but Hemingway decided to become a reporter for the Kansas City Star.[10]
  • Louis L'Amour, an author who left his home at the age of 15 to expand his horizons and worked many jobs while educating himself.
  • Ray Bradbury, author of fantasyhorror, science fiction, and mystery novels, graduated from high school but did not attend college. In regard to his education, Bradbury was quoted as saying:
      • Rudolph Dirks, one of the earliest and most noted comic strip artists, was an autodidact.[12] He sold his first cartoon to a local newspaper when he was 13. For a while, he mainly designed ads. 17 years old, he sold cartoons to magazines like Life und Judge. With jobs like cover images for pulp novels he made his living until the New York Journal hired him, where he earned fame as creator ofThe Katzenjammer Kids.
      • William Shakespeare He did not attend university, but read widely and had a broad knowledge of politics, history, literature, law, and many other subjects as evidenced by his plays.
      • etc. etc. etc...