Lessons from Over the Rainbow

In the Land of Oz, the scarecrow is missing a brain. Of course, in real life, we know that people cannot live without the brain but in Oz, the brain is symbolic of intelligence. In real life, people become attached to intelligence, and because of this, like the scarecrow, they sometimes feel as if they are missing something.

The Scarecrow’s Fallacy 

The scarecrow believes that if he had a brain, advanced thoughts would automatically be created and spew from his mouth with little conscious effort. In effect, he would be the observer. He would be able to solve any problem. Mostly, he wants a brain not to be able to think thoughts, but so that he is not a “nothing,” as he says. At the bottom of all of this is not desire for intellectual acumen, but a struggle for self-esteem.

Do You Desire Outside Acknowledgement of Your Intelligence?

How many of us believe that a degree would change our lives? Perhaps you already have an advanced degree, but it is not in the field you want it in. Perhaps you wanted a degree from an Ivy but your university degree is from a less prestigious school. If you desire a degree largely to say you have it, and not because you desire the valuable learning experience, you are the scarecrow.

The Wizard explains that where he is from, there are prestigious universities and the only thing that the scarecrow does not have that others do is a diploma. Sound familiar? You are always being told that you need a degree to succeed, but is it true? The answer depends on what you are planning to do. Some careers requisite specific essential knowledge that can only be derived from a particular curriculum, and our accomplishments—our degrees, our diplomas, our certifications—represent what we learned in school. What is important to realize is that while academia provides excellent learning experiences, we learn in other ways too, and we don’t get pieces of paper to document that.

The Scarecrow Always Had a Brain

Remember, the scarecrow does not learn anything new. The wizard hands him a diploma and suddenly, he can do advanced mathematics off the top of his head. He could not do it before. Like Dorothy had it in her all along to return home, the scarecrow always had a brain. He needed the outside world’s acknowledgement of this because he lacked inner confidence. He needed that piece of paper. Are you chasing a piece of paper for no apparent reason? Think about it, and then look within. You just might find that the knowledge you seek has been there all along.