Saturday, March 28, 2009

Why Learning

"Begin at once - not today, or tomorrow, or at some remote indefinite date, but right now, at this precise moment - to choose some subject, some concept, some great name or idea or event in history on which you can eventually make yourself the world's supreme expert. Start a crash program immediately to qualify yourself for this self-assignment through reading, research, and reflection.

"I don't mean the sort of expert who avoids all the small errors as he sweeps on to the grand fallacy. I mean one who has the most knowledge, the deepest insight, and the most audacious willingness to break new ground."

-- Max Schuster, quoted in Ron Gross, The Independent Scholar's Handbook, p.xiv

Curiosity and Learning in Advance of need AND
Generality of Knowledge and Abilities LEAD TO
Flexibility of Means and the Ability to Make
Better Choices in the Future

The more you know, the more alternative courses of action are available to you.

Learn to broaden your capabilities, strengthen your weaknesses, and hone your strengths.

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
-- Robert A Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

And in fact, I can do most of these, and many more.

As I become increasingly accomplished my ability to earn, pay, and create increase.

Knowledge is nothing without judgement - how it relates to other knowledge, how it can be used, what kinds of side effects (consequences) its use may have. Wisdom commonly refers to the ability to make good judgements.

1 comment:

  1. If your goal is really "Flexibility of Means and the Ability to Make Better Choices in the Future", I'm skeptical that the things Heinlein lists are really the first things you should be learning. For example, if I am doing a job (such as sales) where my income is directly related to my ability, I will increase my flexibility of means by reading up on sales, not learning to design buildings. And if I want to make better choices in the future (such as deciding whether to marry someone), I'm better off doing research that will help me make the choices I anticipate making than learning to plan an invasion. Doing the stuff Heinlein suggests makes sense only if you've got nothing better.

    Also, specialization is the reason why modern society kicks hunter-gatherer society's ass. And I can't stand Heinlein sometimes.