People within STEM should value rhetoric or history 10x more than they do currently

People within STEM should value rhetoric or history 10 times more than they do currently. People that study and work in STEM fields have stereotypes that they are not high-level, conceptual thinkers. They do not understand people, markets, and the problems being solved. There is lots of innovation for the sake of innovation – rather than being solutions for problems, and there are gaps in knowledge versus intelligence. All of these stereotypes would go away, and our engineers would be more prepared for the world, if they had a better understanding of rhetoric and history.

There is no shortage of intelligence in STEM. The most innovative entrepreneurs and the brightest workers come out of science, technology, engineering, and math degrees. They are the most capable people that can develop an understanding of rhetoric and history if they applied themselves.

STEM individuals should study rhetoric and history for three main reasons: to understand technology cycles, to understand people, and to innovate for society.

Understand technology cycles

Studying history will give the student an understanding of the cycles that individuals and entire societies go through. These are naturally occurring cycles of growth and decline, rise and fall. History gives the keys to understanding how these cycles come about, how to handle yourself in the middle of them, and how to get out of a period of perceived doom.

Nearly all human problems have occurred before. The technology may be new, and it probably is, but the problem humans face is probably not new (except my foil-hat AI problems). How people get from one place to another, how we communicate with each other, how we find love – these are all problems that will not go away, these have been solved in a variety of ways, and will continue to exist in the future. Engineers should understand how to prepare for change as well as the effects of their proposed changes.

Changing how we do things not only saves the end user time and money to do those things, but there may be secondary consequences. Facebook changed the way we communicate with each other and made it easier to stay in touch with others. However, people are finding it harder to maintain strong relationships and to build communication skills now that it is easier to be social. Ease is attractive, but it may not be best long-term.

Cycles of ease and hardship have occurred before. Understanding these cycles will help the engineer profit, keep society from falling apart, and maybe find love.

Engineers will benefit from this knowledge because they can apply new technology to problems that continue to occur. Solutions can be developed to mitigate or solve problems that are almost certain to happen again.

Understand people

Engineers are the introverts on campus – the nerds, the “non-people persons”. It doesn’t have to be this way. Rhetoric and history both will teach an individual the importance of developing speech and social grace. From the inventors that never received their credit because someone more charismatic beat them to it, to the psychology that goes into connecting with people, rhetoric – the art of language and communicating, is as valuable for engineers as for the marketing majors.

Marketing departments and communication teams are the “social people” in an organization. What they really are is an added layer of complexity and inefficiency. When the engineer understands the people he is serving – the customers, his boss, and team members, the role of the manager and marketer that works alongside the engineer is diminished, and the builder moves one step closer to interacting with the actual customer.

When the engineer can connect with an audience, he can eliminate the need for the manager and marketer. In this world, where additional layers of management and marketing departments are common, the engineer would be much more profitable in his own employment, or by convincing his organization to eliminate those positions for his profit.

Innovate for society

The current world is technology-driven. There are constantly new technologies and competition for market-share and funding are fierce. To guarantee your product will secure its funding and market, understanding of both history and rhetoric will help.

Rhetoric will help for the reason listed above. The engineer can add the value of the marketing department and sales team if he can connect with his audience and relate to them.

Understanding history helps with this too. Most problems have been seen and addressed before. By understanding the cycles that humans go through, that technology goes through, and that societies go through, an engineer can orient their technology to fill a gap that will be valuable long-term.

The goals of new technologies are to make society – whether all of society or your family or your company, better. Profits come when society is willing to pay for your product because it adds value.

An example of technology for technology’s sake is a change in a user interface that doesn’t make the experience better, but maybe looks shinier. Lightshows at a rave look cool but don’t do society a lot of good (at best). When cab companies create an app that allowed you to book a cab, that may be helpful if it has your position built-in, but it still requires hiring a cab and waiting for one to come from the airport.

Uber is innovative. It took the cab application and turned the ordinary commuter into an employee. It gave users trust in the drivers and gave the drivers accountability. It completely innovated both the efficiency of getting a ride, the quality of the rides, and the economics of driving and receiving a ride.

Transportation is a continually disrupted industry. Cab companies were as unprepared for Uber as the train companies were unprepared for the automobile. This will continue to happen, and technology giants, including Uber, are correctly spending money to prepare for the next disruptive transportation technologies – self-driving cars, drones, and underground travel.

People within STEM should value rhetoric or history 10x more than they do currently. Dedicating time to read non-technical papers will serve their careers, companies, and all of society. By understanding societal and human cycles, the people their product touches, and the problems they are solving, engineers will be much better positioned to add lasting value and make more money.

It is not worth going to college for any field outside of STEM or Philosophy.

It is not worth going to college for any field outside of STEM or Philosophy. It made sense until 20 years ago to go to college and get a degree. A degree showed a competence and intelligence that stood out on a resume. By presenting a degree to an employer, the employer knew you had the intelligence to go to college and the independence to make it through years dealing with adults.

College only cost hundreds of dollars, and degrees, whether STEM or humanities, led to almost guaranteed employment. This was during a time when the management professions and the “value-add” industries like advertising and marketing were added to businesses. These value-adds came from the humanities. Marketing and advertising appeal to the psychology of people. Management is applied sociology.

These were the booming jobs of the time, and a humanity degree not only checked the college box – it was preferred. These degrees added the value that organizations were looking for.

The labor market has changed in the last 20 years. Universities changed too, but they did not change to keep up with the changes in the labor market. The changes in universities ran counter-productive to the changes in the labor market.

Where humanities were the value-adding jobs from the 50s through the 80s, the internet has changed the requisite jobs and, because of that, the requisite skills needed. The internet runs on math and technology. STEM degrees are the degrees that are employable. The management and marketing jobs of the 50s are being replaced by technology just like the labor-intensive jobs were replaced 40 years before. The reduction in management and marketing jobs means fewer degrees in humanities are needed.

STEM is the humanity degree and the management job of the 60s. These are the employable degrees and the driver of technology, which is the driver of the current economy. Instead of management and sales adding value like 50 years ago, technology is able to add value by cutting out the managers and the salespeople. Technology connects buyers and sellers where the humanity-pedigreed salesmen did until recently.

Humanities degrees are being produced like money in a collapsed economy. Except, unlike money in a collapsed economy, the degrees being produced cost tens- to hundreds of thousands of dollars. So, we have more people graduating college than ever, which has debased the degree so that not all graduates are guaranteed a job. Humanity degrees add little value in this technology-driven world where life is managed with code.

The majority of students are still choosing to major in the humanities. There are a majority of college graduates leaving university unprepared for the job market, which is technology-driven and requires technical degrees. Also, they have hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans that must be paid back.

These debt-ridden graduates have to find employment to pay back debt. Those that are lucky find themselves a management or marketing job, which are decreasing in number as technology improves and reduces the need for these functions. Those that are unlucky pick up a low-paying service job. This has become a stereotype – the barista with a humanities degree. A well-read barista is attractive – there’s nothing wrong with serving coffee. A barista who has to be there because they owe the bank $200,000 is not attractive. That person is enslaved with no way out in sight. They must work for a company until the debt is paid off. There is a legal and ethical commitment to pay off the debt.

Why are there so many humanity degrees? Because of those blasted humanity degree students from 50 years ago. The universities and banks are profit centers that make money with each enrolled student paying tuition. There are advertising channels that promote more students going to college and getting degrees. The banks and universities don’t care what degree is studied. They care about $200,000. Which, if that’s the price of tuition and the person is working at Starbucks to pay it off, she will end up paying far more than double that.

College is a scam for everyone that is not majoring in a STEM degree. Students are sold a lie that they “need to go to college” to get a job or to find a good relationship. This is all just branding by the universities and loan banks. Any skill can be learned online these days, and banks and universities are sweating hoping the masses don’t drop out to develop skills online. The advertisers are working hard to keep the college brand attractive. They are heavily incentivized to make college attractive.

“It’s an important phase of life.” “It’s where you develop the social skills.” These are all jargon statements sold by the loan banks. You know what else is an important phase of life and a place you develop social skills and have fun? Timeshares in retirement. Rent a timeshare to signify your new phase in life. Meet other travelers and party. You can do this for a lot less than a college degree.

The exception to all this is the philosophy degree. The philosopher learns that none of this is really necessary. You can get a degree in STEM, get a high-paying job, create a technology that makes businesses better, but if at the end of the day you still aren’t satisfied because of an insecurity or relationship drama, then what’s it all for? To better humanity? That’s great, as long as it doesn’t cost your suffering. You can make money and then face your insecurities and internal demons, or you can face your demons from the start. Many people face a demon called consumerism. The philosopher recognizes this demon and stays away.

You can become a philosopher by reading books, through experiencing all the hells of consumerism and life, or through an expensive degree. Being philosophical is worth it. The philosopher finds meaning in life itself, and knows not to become enslaved to debt, or anything else. Hopefully, he didn’t buy an expensive degree to learn that lesson.

It is not worth going to college for any field outside of STEM or Philosophy. This is because:

  • The price of tuition is increasing.
  • Skills needed for jobs are becoming more technical.
  • Philosophers understand you don’t need jobs and can find meaning without the 9-to-5.