What are the staples of being accepted in the culture of today?

Is it that you know something about everything, can fix things that are broken and strive for learning things you have no previous skills in?
No, I don't think so. The conversation of today when you apply anywhere may it be a job or an education is what kind of papers and previous experience do you have. Willingness to learn is a secondary positive once the prerequisites have been met.

How many times have you spoken to someone who seems to know a lot about any subject you may throw at them? How many times have you thought of them as pathetic no-life geeks or nerds?

It used to be that people learned the skills they needed by work and experimentation. It served not only yourself but the people around you as well. People like Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, the Wright brothers, Benjamin Franklin, William Blake, H.P. Lovecraft, Terry Pratchett, Charles Darwin, Gustave Eiffel, etc. were all self-educated. You'll throw the trump card of course in saying that some of those were noted professionals in a field or two and had studied it for a long time and I'll give you that. However, Darwin did not get his degree in natural history and biology, Edison had only three months worth of official schooling. I could explain each and every one of those names and why it is that I find them such an inspiration, but I won't. You'll have to teach yourself the facts.

Why has our society gone to the point where education is the most important thing in the world, yet one who is self-taught and oftentimes more in touch with not only the world but also the knowledge pushed on the unwilling at school will be shunned just because he doesn't have the credentials?

There are plenty of self-taught people even in this day and age of course. Mostly labouring in dead-end minimum wage jobs while waiting for their time to shine while the idiots, without any kind of knowledge in any field but how to apply make-up were you a female or male, rake in the cash by appearing on one reality show or another and then seek to extend their spotlight moment for as long as possible with the eventual horrible no-talent album of them singing - no sorry, brutalizing their favourite hits from the 80s.

Before you ask, yes I am extremely cross that no-talent hacks who go through life with their biggest worry being which party to attend and what to wear and how many times to change their clothes within 24 hours get the easy life. It can't be that those people who want an easy life get an easy life with the snap of their fingers while those who take the world a tad bit more seriously and seek a real meaning get left off with the scraps.

The other choice is of course to make yourself into an entrepreneur and make a job for yourself that you are happy doing. And that, if anything, is the real path to self-learning as you learn from your own mistakes and attempt to make your job lucrative enough that you can survive on the income you get from it. But that's the dream isn't it? The freedom to learn as you go along without the kind of peer pressure that comes with you being a subject of someone higher-up in a company.

I was thinking of condensing this into a simple point or thought of the day, but I won't. You'll have to look for it yourself, search for the knowledge and form your own point to this blog post. Teach yourself, FFS, it's not my job to do it for you. Not yet anyway.