I was puzzled recently by this supposedly shortened headline on the main CNN health page: Virus in China kills 28 children in China. Well. Thanks for the redundancy there. I thought the virus in China only killed kids in Hong Kong. Or maybe Taiwan. Or maybe all the kids who get sick are shipped to Japan as part of an international disease exchange program. Thank God the actual headline of the article was non-repetitive. But it brings up a familiar question: how much information do we think we need? And, in association, is this determination of our knowledge needs valid?
In a world where information and records are increasingly transparent, a large body of information is available to the public. For those willing to search for it, you can find and learn about just about anything. And yet, specialization runs rampant. College admissions boards are seeing more and more applicants focused in one area of expertise. Schools are focusing less and less on a broad-ranging liberal arts curriculum. And yet in the working world, people are changing jobs and even careers more and more frequently.
What does this say for my own education and skill set? How do I choose what might be most advantageous? True, most skills are applicable across a wide range of jobs, but how do I determine even which job is applicable to my interests? And how much can such generalism really help my life and growth? How does education translate into skills and experience, and at what point does the body of knowledge I possess become useless junk that I cannot apply to my present life? Does the thirst for knowledge still have validity, if the possession of that knowledge can easily be recreated by a simple internet search?