Drucker's solution to this debate, in beautiful simplicity, is summarized with this single idea:
The educated person will therefore have to be prepared to live and work simultaneously in two cultures--that of the "intellectual," who focuses on words and ideas, and that of the "manager," who focuses on people and work.Drucker sees that in our modern world, both sides of the debate about an "educated person" need each other. We need to live in the world of words and ideas. This forms the context for which we view the "big picture" and gives motivation to our lives. Yet the vast majority of people live out most of their lives in organizations which focus on tasks and interpersonal relationships. In this balance is the true educated person.
Let me share a bit of my own story. I graduated from seminary with my master's degree in 2009. Having finished three years of graduate study in theology, and an undergraduate degree in economics and Spanish, I was filled with "words and ideas." And I was quite good at this world. Grades were never a problem, and I received academic accolades for my work. My education made me into one who loved old books and was incredibly optimistic about changing the world. My mind and spirit danced with visions of how church, education, and society ought to change.
But there was a problem. I was unemployable.
After I graduated I took a hard look at my resume and realized that I was just like a million other young, bright, educated 20 somethings who were unemployed (a recent study I read showed that 1/3 of us are currently jobless). I had plenty of visions for change, but very few methods for actually bringing about such change. So, I took two part time jobs to bring in an income and support my wife and baby daughter.
I quickly realized that I had been steeped in the beauties of the "humanist" (Christian humanist in my case) tradition, but had almost no ability to work with people or in organizations. So, I began asking questions. After a half a year of curiosity, I discovered mysterious documents with the name of "strategic initiatives." I desperately tried to figure out how people actually accomplished their visions, and how they worked with other people to make this happen.
This work of the technician, or the "leader" as some might call it, was new to me. And it was an incredibly important aspect of my own education that was missing. I am now underway in a self-taught school of learning how to function in organizations and how to work positively and productively with other people--a true component of what it means to be educated.
In today's world, we sell students short if we don't show them the beauties and the lessons of the past. But we also sell them short if we don't give them the tangible skills to do something about their visions. Real education, as it has been said, must be knowledge and character married to action--namely wisdom. King Solomon once remarked, "Get wisdom. Though it cost all your have, get understanding." Indeed, let the educated people of the 21st century pursue wisdom with the fervor of an intellectual and the diligence of a manager.