Theory and more Practice: A Challenge to All of Us

Mindanao Advice

Topics that really excite me aside from religion and business are the principles that govern our behavior and the need for ethics for that matter.  We often know what is morally right, but in business, for example, we tend to think profit before fair play and the gap between theory and practice widens up if it benefits us and we easily can get away with it. We can see this gap in many aspects of society and we will all benefit a lot if we can minimize it.

When I graduated from college, I already had an exact blueprint of how I should build my life thinking I was already fully equipped with all the theories in the world which I learned from school. However, I was in for a shock because the real world has twists and turns that we can never learn from reading books.

Theories (like what we learned in schools) are general rules difficult to put out in practice, especially when things get chaotic or messy. So we need the act or judgment (the application) to try what we have learned making sure it works. For me, theories are important but will only be credible if supplemented by practice because even if you know a lot of theory you will still feel helpless when tested.

We have learned so well that we should not do something bad when faced with very difficult circumstances, but we have tendencies to lie and save ourselves. Rules are not anymore working in practice. Survival instincts take control and what we learned in years becomes “not so applicable” as one of my former classmates sadly puts it.

We have been taught to love our neighbors as ourselves. In the practical world, it would be very hard when these neighbors become very inconsiderate and noisy, or gossip about you, or steal from you. We don’t like it and get angry, then the gap becomes obvious and if we don’t have practical training in conflict solving it can get nasty.  And here is my point; we need to learn how to practice the theory of “loving your neighbor as yourself” by practical training. And this goes for all theories guiding us.

A while ago, I tried to ask an expert mechanic about the laws of science useful for his work, he just laughed at me. He said he just knows through instincts and experience and never had proper school. He had learned it by trying and failing and is now a master in his field.

Our school system is very theory-based and it might be wise to open up for more practical training simply because it will be easier to put theory into practice. We can bridge the gap by taking it more seriously.

Theory and practice should go hand in hand, and our Department of Education has a big challenge here. So has the Church. Ethics is also something that will contribute a lot when practiced more. If we can narrow in the gap between theory and practice in all aspects of our society, we will become a stronger nation.


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