BA, BS, APRN, LMFT, JD, MD, Ph.D. What do they all really mean? Ostensibly, all of these letters after one's name - most of them capital letters - indicate that this person has achieved a minimally prescribed amount of formal education in a given discipline. Some letters authenticate one's license to engage in the commercial practice of certain disciplines. These letters also recognize a very important convention in our society, a convention that suggests fundamental standards of competence and proficiency. In addition, all of this "alphabet soup" is an attestation of the many value judgments we make regarding education. Within any given theatre of debate, we place a greater value on the words and ideas of those in possession of this alphabet soup than we do those without it.
Among the more concrete benefits of advanced education is the perfection of the skills and tools developed in the pursuit of one's education including the ability to perform research and communicate effectively and efficiently. For many among the educated elite, the goal is simple: the dissemination of one's own ideas no matter how inane the premises for these ideas may be.
There's one more thing all of this alphabet soup does, and it's quite possibly one of the most powerful: It confers upon those who possess it the apparent right to take themselves seriously. What more does anyone need to command a mere modicum of respect for their efforts? Not much, I submit.
Ironically, the vast majority of what I would describe as incomprehensible nonsense comes not from other HSDs (high school dropouts) like myself, but rather from those who have acquired a virtual smorgasbord of alphabet soup. They wear their credentials like badges on a boy scout uniform - plain for all to see. And yet their baseless propositions, agendas and prejudices cannot conceal themselves. It is to these people I say, "Your education means nothing." But, to the many honestly educated and humble aspirants to the truth I say, "Thank you for your moderation, your wisdom, and your intellectual selflessness. You I can learn from."
2 years ago