Please share your thoughts on the following from a blog post by Eric Reitan Here's a deeper way to think about the problem: Education succeeds to the extent that it develops intellectual virtues and virtues of character. Education isn't just about shoving necessary information into people's heads. It certainly isn't about teachers somehow taking over the hearts and minds of their students and developing their potential for them. Education succeeds by helping students develop the intellectual skills and the habits of character that enable them to focus on developing their own talents and abilities for themselves. Education ideally aims to turn students into mature adults who defer immediate gratification for the sake of more meaningful good and long-term goals, people who develop themselves and use their talents as opposed to primarily indulging their preferences-of-the-moment. But businesses in the free market often are most successful to to the extent that they tap into dominant preferences-of-the-moment, capitalizing on our difficulties with resisting temptation. What's the result? Here's how George Scialabba puts it. According to a very familiar statistic that nonetheless cannot be repeated too often, the average American’s day includes six minutes playing sports, five minutes reading books, one minute making music, 30 seconds attending a play or concert, 25 seconds making or viewing art, and four hours watching television. And I suspect we'd find similar statistics relating to food consumption choices. The pattern is this: Choices that express or reflect the pursuit of self-cultivation--of our talents, abilities, knowledge, and tastes--are far less common than choices which don't place any real demands on us. I'm not trying to be elitist here. I'm not saying there's something essentially wrong about enjoying something that it takes no effort or training to enjoy. The point is that much of what's best in life does take effort or training to enjoy. There is a level of satisfaction that comes from developing a talent and then using it well, or developing a capacity for discernment that enables you to appreciate excellence--and it is a level of satisfaction that outstrips the satisfaction you get from satisfying your sweet tooth or watching a movie where lots of things blow up. A life in which we develop some of our talents and our capacity to discern excellence is a better life, overall, than one in which we don't. And it isn't just better because we're likely to make more money with which to indulge our desires-of-the-moment. It is better because we can enjoy more rewarding things. A life characterized by the pursuit of excellence and the appreciation of excellence is, simply put, a richer life. If we want to have access to these goods, we need to develop our capacities. And to do that we need to cultivate character traits like perseverance, diligence, focus, and commitment. That doesn't happen when we spend most of our time watching TV shows...and the commercials that aim to feed into our baser appetites and desires, channeling them towards consumerism. The statistics Scialabba cites are disturbing precisely because they indicate a society that has prioritized immediate gratification over self-development.