What is deemed civilization rests on the tripod of reading, writing and arithmetic. That is why those three basic skills are vital to success in the world.
Commerce, the peaceful exchange between people or countries, could never have evolved without accurate counting and record keeping. The earliest artifacts containing writing are not legends or myths, but commercial transactions, exchanges of merchandise, not ideas.
Now that people in the industrialized world no longer hunt for nor grow their own food or erect their own shelters, everyone has to acquire money to pay for their basic needs. In order to accumulate money, the skills of reading, writing and arithmetic have to be mastered.
Once a person has learned to comprehend written words, put them onto a permanent surface and calculate numbers, that human being can cross any threshold of knowledge with confidence. Without those vital skills, a person is dependent upon others to provide information and is unable to decipher for her/himself the true from the false.
Some extremely successful people have dropped out of school before completing the curriculum, but none have acquired wealth, fame or prestige without being able to read, write or compute basic mathematical functions in the modern world. Once a person has mastered these rudimentary skills that person can learn about whatever truly interests them, inspiring them to succeed.
Even if success isn’t measured in monetary gain, reading, writing and arithmetic are vital. Reading for pleasure is one of the greatest escapes from real life troubles. Writing a letter to a friend produces inner satisfaction, as does submitting articles to Helium. Figuring out a budget or determining what is a good buy through mathematical calculations gives a person a sense of success as well.
Today, in order to enter into the world of the Internet, the ability to read is essential. Even cell phones now require the ability to text messages, as well as speak. Reading and writing are vital to one’s ability to communicate. And if, by chance, all power is lost, the people who can read, write and do arithmetic have the sun to see by or dirt and a stick to compose or calculate.
Creating a resume, filling out a job application, reading an insurance form, preparing one’s taxes, voting, understanding any instruction manual, searching the Internet, and most importantly avoiding getting ripped off are all skills that are vital for surviving in the modern world. As there are more and more people, there is less and less time for people to be helped. As the world speeds up, human beings have to do more work on their own. Help, especially useful and specific help, is more difficult to find. That is why, in order to succeed, each individual, like civilization itself, has to have the solid foundation of reading, writing and arithmetic skills supporting them.