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7 Critical Prerequisites to Basic Competence That You Were Never Formally Taught

Updated on April 15, 2015

#1: What all of the laws are

To be fair, when it comes to driving, we actually have an education process in place, complete with tests and stuff. However, in almost every other legal aspect of our lives, none of that exists. We are pretty much casually meandering throughout the vicinity of potential incarceration on a daily basis, without even knowing it. In kindergarten, we learned the basics: don't murder people, don't steal, and probably a few other key points that are escaping me at the moment.

This is basically all you get though. We are expected to adhere to a legal system that is as convoluted as it could unreasonably possibly be, all without education as to what these laws are, or even how to gain access to these laws. If I'm curious as to whether or not something I did was illegal, I do what most of you probably also do, I literally Google it. That's just the stuff we do that we have reason to assume might be illegal. I don't even want to think about all the illegal stuff we do without even knowing it. This being the case, I believe we can and should improve on this system.


#2: Evolution is an irrefutable fact

I actually am legitimately super mad about this one. The debate is over, among almost absolutely every scientist in every discipline imaginable. The government should step into modernity and enforce accurate, purposeful education. Any school that chooses to teach the "controversy" is actively contributing to the disinformation of the human species. The driving forces behind teaching creationism are idealistically archaic and ill-intentioned. Empirical evidence has irrefutably supported Darwinian evolution for literally hundreds of years.

Believing that the Earth is 6,000 years old, disregarding a veritable wealth of information proving otherwise, is at best an ignorant stance. The theory of intelligent design is the last shallow breath of an illogical clamoring to a belief system long due for a cognitive overhaul. Giving equal time to a theory that is not substantiated by equal merit is harmful to our intelligence. The truth, that we have systematically evolved to become better equipped to survive in our environment is not only a better story, it's also the reality of how things actually work.


#3: There are really good scam artists

This is an unfortunate truth about our society: some people are going to attempt to take advantage of people who do not have the means necessary to defend themselves. The first time most of us came in contact with a semi-sophisticated hoax was when we first entered college. I don't know how these emails got past our universities' robust firewalls, but the Nigerian Prince scam should not have been our first educational experience with fraudulent activity.

Our schooling system should be responsible for ensuring our population is aware of these threats and the proper way of handling them. While we're at it, we should also be teaching our kids how to protect themselves from all types of digital forgery that inevitably occur in our increasingly interconnected world. We should also get a crash course in pyramid schemes and other types of get rich quick scams. The average citizen should be able to recognize and distinguish between a legitimate venture and one that is going to leave our pockets turned out.

#4: How to survive in nature

Let's say you go for a hike in the woods and get lost. This could reasonably happen in your lifetime. Would you have any way of surviving out there, or even finding your way back to civilization? We should be able to live in our natural world, but many of us lack even the most basic skills when it comes to our primary domain. Would you know how to find access to a reliable food and water source? If you broke your arm or suffered a laceration in the wilderness, would you know at all what to do about your critical situation?

We should not be forced to wait for an ambulance or a doctor to arrive to receive medical assessment. Rather, we should be equipped with the knowledge to evaluate and act upon injuries that happen in remote locations. What if our society experienced a long-term infrastructure collapse? Something like this is bound to happen eventually. We need to be able to survive in these situations, but little has been done to educate people on how to manage any sort of compromising environment. Long story short, we should teach first aid and basic survival skills.


#5: The powerful people are not smart

More importantly, I think we lack education on how to deal with a boss that is vastly unintelligent. This seems to be a widely common theme in the business world, and we need a manual for how to navigate this sketchy terrain. What would be better is if we make sure dumb people don't find themselves in positions of power, but I think we have all given up on that being a distinct possibility.

In response to this unfortunate reality, we should be better equipped with the tools necessary to exist in this illogical configuration. Some potential course titles would be: Covert Psychological Manipulation, Pandering 101, Explaining Reason and Logic, Teaching Basic Mathematics to Dummies for Dummies, etc. I think if more of us possessed these skill sets, manipulating the wrong people to make the right decisions would happen more frequently and organically.

#6: How credit cards and banks work

The current economic situation of both our individual citizens as well as our country should be the first sign that nobody really knows how to manage their finances. The solution, not surprisingly, is education. Ideas like continually compounding interest rates, and mortgage amortization should not be reserved for those harboring degrees in financial mathematics. If that's not a concentration, it probably should be. We should be learning about the dilution of our national currency as a result of the expeditious rate at which we print money.

Moreover, we should absolutely know the difference between monthly and annualized interest rates in regard to credit cards and loans of any stature. We should know about the time valuation of money and inflation. These factors impact every part of our financial well being, yet seemingly none of us know anything about them. We should know how our credit rating systems work, even though currently that information is reserved for those in charge of actually computing these scores. All of this contributes to our increasingly grim financial status.


#7: America is kind of a dick

For those of you that have ventured out from behind the comfort of our robust military industrial complex, you may have asked yourself, why does everyone in every other country hate us? They're not just being weird and foreign, starting with the notion that we probably shouldn't call them foreign in their own country. They are pissed at you because you are a personification of America's horrendous track record when it comes to foreign relations.

When you meet people from other countries, just try to explain that you are also pissed off at how we are handling pretty much everything right now. Make sure to explain that you make a conscious effort to vote on important issues. Even better, say that you voted against the things that helped forge the shitstorm colossus that currently plagues the globe. I know none of us really understand what we're voting for, but just pretend that you knew that thing that was supposed to be good was going to end up being a treacherous ruse.

Would you read another article on this subject?

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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      #8: How to read and understand food labels (nutrition facts label).

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 

      3 years ago from USA

      Things that make you go, "hmmmmmmm!"

    • Luke M Simmons profile imageAUTHOR

      Luke M. Simmons 

      3 years ago from Encinitas, California

      @Rock: thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Glad you enjoyed it!

    • Rock_nj profile image

      John Coviello 

      3 years ago from New Jersey

      I liked this a lot. Great perspective on the way the world really is. Voted up and shared!

    • Luke M Simmons profile imageAUTHOR

      Luke M. Simmons 

      3 years ago from Encinitas, California

      @Audrey: very good points, I just think that most people don't even know where to start looking for these resources. I believe these articles should be more readily available to the general public.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      3 years ago from California

      Interesting stuff--much of what we have to learn is never taught in schools. I am a licensed attorney and am amazed that people know so little about the law and about their rights. Everyone should read the cases that interpret the Constitution--not just the Constitution itself.


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