It doesn't take a trip across the Atlantic to Africa to have an ironic revelation. I mean, it doesn't, but in my case it did. South-central (specifically Ndola, Zambia) Africa was easily the most foreign world to which I've traveled (giraffes just don't compute to the brain of a new-world westerner), and it's on a list with 10 other countries. After my return, and in reflection, I was unsure I'd feel as though the trip generated the personal evolution of trips past, but I should really know better.
So what the hell does this have to do with irony, perspective and education? I've often found myself struggling with the fact that many of the most mind-expanding, perspective-altering and personally insightful human acts, of which uncomfortable travel certainly qualifies, are inaccessible to those that arguably require these therapies the most. A stale, uneducated mind, unwilling to consider alternative perspectives has no motivation to break free and experience perhaps the only act with the power to reverse the comfort of monotony. That's the irony of perspective.
I constantly hear that financial hurdles create the greatest threat in overcoming this perpetuating cycle, but that depends, go figure, on perspective. Travel is expensive, with this I won't argue, but the benefits don't come from a particularly peculiar location (say Yakutsk, Siberia), they come with the unaccustomed and potential for altered perspective. I argue that travel is likely the quickest way to a mental upgrade, but it's certainly not the only way. Be skeptical, even of your own mind, when assuming you alternatives for growth and education are limited.
Keep an eye out for follow-up posts on the Irony of Perspective, and remember to let the Bearded Skeptic be your guide to a BS free tomorrow.