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Essay about Walking On Water Derrick Jensen Analysis

Today, many students like myself all over the America have walked down the hectic aisles of high school and have sat in some of the largest lecture halls in college. As kids, we were somewhat taught that going to school and getting an education would be the key to our success and thought that if we didn’t fulfill these expectations, we would end up homeless and live a terrible life. For so many years during my educational career this was the mentality that I believed in.

Although this may be over exaggerated, I believe that this may hold some truth to the many college students all over the world. It is almost like we volunteer to go into debt and deal with all the stress that a college education brings us because we feel like it will get us a better job and make us happy, but today that doesn’t seem to be the case. If we are to believe that a college education or a degree will bring joy to our lives, why are we so miserable? The perception of an education is varied based on those you ask.

Everyone seems to have their own opinion of how a proper education should be approached, but many students seem to go down the same tunnel with blinders on, moving from one semester to another like the way they were taught. Author Derrick Jensen and novelist David Foster Wallace, are two prominent figures who have each voiced their opinions on the topic of what the outcomes of a real education should be. While Jensen believes that a true education should lead oneself to finding out who they are, Wallace takes a more spiritual approach, believing that a true education should lead one to be more mindful and more self-aware.

Although both views may seem different, each both tie into the pursuit of answering the question that of “who am I? ” A question that will guide oneself to the pursuit of the good life. It is common for exiting high school students to not know what they want to be or what they want to study after high school. It is a question that I had to ask myself many times. If one were to look on paper and see that a student has had over 10 years of education, it would be easy to assume that student knows exactly what they want to do.

Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. In Derrick Jensen’s Walking on Water, Jensen describes the holes in our education system and explains why it i it is that many students are not exploring their true potential because of the way our education system is operated. The way our education is set up is designed to fit the needs of corporate society which hinders students from taking a minute and asking tough questions like, “who am I? ” Sadly, it is a question that many students are not able to figure out during their educational path.

Jensen argues that our education system is set up for students to do exactly what those with authority say and that if they don’t, there will be consequences. Jensen describes school as a place almost as where close-ended questions with fixed answers are set to be the norm, while open-ended questions are looked down upon. Jensen states, “I learned to mimic the opinions of teachers, and on command to vomit facts and interpretations of those facts gleaned from textbook, whether I agreed with the facts or interpretations or not. This slave like system Jensen describes is exactly why we cannot ask ourselves the question of who we are. Students have adapted the view of pleasing their teachers and professors that they don’t apply that same attention and well-being to themselves, thus resulting in poor personal development. If we are to answer the question of “who are you? “, students must go back to their childhood state of mind and re-adopt their imaginative curiosity. Jensen suggest that our ability to be creative is hindered by the educational system that is in place today.

The ability to ask the tough questions, question authority, and believe that we can be whoever we want without the limitations and expectations of society is what Jensen believes students should be taught. Instead of being brainwashed in accepting an occupation that makes you unhappy because it blends in with society’s norms, the education system should teach students to find who they are and grasp it and take off with it. Uncovering one’s gifts and personal well-being and joy is what a true education should lead to.

Jensen states, “It’s okay to find what makes you happy and then to fight for it. Jensen exemplify what uncensored creativity and personal interest and gifts that are brought when one is finally able to answer the question, “who are you? ” To be what you want to be, to do what you want to do, and to say what you want to say without the fear of societal one-size fits all system, is what Jensen believes a true education should inspire in students. While Jensen takes a more self-discovering approach, David Foster Wallace challenges today’s educational process by criticizing its ability to teach students how to think about the world they live.

In David Foster’s “This is Water,” Wallace emphasizes the challenge of escaping from our default mental setting that we seem to drift into so often, and into more of an open-minded state of mind. It is easy to drift into having a pessimistic self-centered approach to the world because we feel the world owes us something. Wallace state’s, “everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the centre of the universe; the realest, most vivid and important person in existence. I can guarantee that everyone, including myself has thought the same way, but what is the benefit of having such a selfish attitude? This type of attitude only brings negativity into our lives and leads us to grow angry with the world, leading oneself to not truly ever experience a good life. If we think like this, we are unconsciously living life without even knowing it. What Wallace really wants students to learn from an education is the ability to control one’s own mind in a way that expels the so-called default setting and lets one to experience life consciously.

Wallace states, “It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential… ” By choosing to block out our negative judgements of the world and just stop and think of all the unknown factors that we are so confidently assure of, we will experience Eudaimonia in our life. It is a joy that no college degree or materialistic object can deliver. The details between Jensen’s and Wallace’s view of a proper education may differ, but both ideas lead to the same concluding point of having a good life.

Wealth, money, power and even a college degree are all wonderful rewards to obtain in life, but we see all too often that those who possess these achievements are usually the most miserable people on the earth. We may perceive these people as being happy, but they are not because they have lacked the educational guidance that leads them to being able to discover who they are and viewing the world with a conscious state of mind. It is very rare to step into a classroom and hear a professor give a lecture on how to find your gifts or how to live life being self-conscious.

The ways students are taught is not in accordance with bettering oneself, but instead pushing to get everyone out into the real world to fill society’s expectation regardless if you like it or not. A wasted life is not being able to use your talents and gifts for the good of others and for personal wellness. It is in Jensen’s and Wallace’s hope that those who figure out what a true education is, will finally be able to answer the question, “Who am I? ” and live a good life.

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