Cap & Gown. Pomp & Circumstance.  Words like prefect & provost make rare appearances. School banners and alma maters too.  It’s graduation season. 

Each ceremony reminds us of the rigors every school requires for a candidate to be considered worthy of a degree. The rules and traditions of the school are respected. The curriculum and coursework are respected. The knowledge and achievements of degree earners are respected.

Academia shines with its fullest power and highest glory. It’s a proud day for family and friends as everyone seems impressed by the certified, legitimized, education.

But what happens after the ceremony; when the last words have been spoken, the last degree conferred, the last alma mater sung and the last parties celebrated?

What do we think then of academia and it’s implications?  Do we respect it after we leave the ceremony? Respect for academia implies that becoming educated and knowledgeable requires more than a quick Google search or social media hearsay.

Do we love academia at graduation but ignore it otherwise in our lives? Too often, it seems that we’ve replaced the legitimacy and rigor of learning with the search for opinions we want to agree with. Like self-righteous, Sunday church-goers who sin willfully all week long, we readily accept things that should not be accepted, while at the same time praising the benefits of logic, credibility and other traits of formal education.

We can’t do that.

We can’t accept testimony, narratives and conspiracy theories that have been proven false. We can’t believe what we want to believe and call ourselves educated on that basis alone.

When we do these things, we undermine education, distort the definition of knowledge, and weaken society. We steer ourselves into the position we’re in right now as a culture- a place where nobody knows what to believe or what is real; where opinion and fact hold equal value.

We need to snap out of it and move back to a place where credibility and facts are revered, not just in politics but in all areas. Let’s grow our “commencement day attitude” into our everyday mindset toward learning, reviving respect for rigorous discernment and provably credible knowledge.

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