07 December, 2010

Not just getting an education

My choice to switch my focus from engineering to applied philosophy has, quite unsurprisingly, raised eyebrows among some. "It's a good education and you'll have a nice living as an engineer", some say, so why change? Even not going into how I feel about money, I have my reasons.

You see, I don't want to just "get an education". Getting an education is short for showing up at exams, forgetting most of the stuff right thereafter and finally ending up with a piece of paper enabling a nice job with a nice pay in a nice company. Not my thing. No, instead of "getting an education" I want to learn how to understand the world. I want to know what this is all about, where we came from and where we're going, and why a lot of things are like they are, instead of something else. A lot of these things would never come up in your regular Joe's engineering education.

Admittedly, you can achieve deep learning in a technical university too. It's just that the focus there is a bit off for me. I'm not into the details of robot control or the the best practices of companies. I'm a paradigm questioner, and that's got me into all kinds of trouble at courses already. I have a habit of asking a lot of annoying questions that to most of the engineering guys seem irrelevant. So it would seem nonsensical to continue along the previous path. Better save my time for my interests, and as a bonus I'll save other people's nerves as well, not arguing about all the paradigm at the engineering lectures.


  1. Good article, Tommi.

    I think with looking for english courses you got into ones that are on the "soft" application side, there's no "real science" behind them. Most of them are people's or company's best practices, as you mentioned.

    I think they can also broaden your horizon. You don't have to stop at the lecturer's approaches - analysing them can also very be quite exciting ...! :-)
    I like many of the courses but after rethinking some things my opinion isn't always the same as the lecturer's.

    I personally like your approach of combining engineering and philosophy - this combination is very rare I think.

  2. Thanks! I appreciate your appreciation! :) I agree with you about both the courses being very application-focused and alike with the fact, that one can do a lot by analyzing it further on one's own. Still, I have a habit of complaining and asking difficult questions at lectures, because
    a) sometimes they just don't argue for their views
    b) sometimes a lot of important stuff has been left out (like groupthink or halo effect)

    True, that my combination is maybe not the most common one, but I know some other people with a similar interest spectrum, too. And I know a lot of people, who could do philosophy and are very smart, but maybe just don't find the traditional philosophy discussions relevant.