12 years ago…

Going through old files, I found three years worth of a daily blog I did in ’09. ’10’ and ’11

MONDAY, MAY 18, 2009

Education (T.S. Elliot?)

I read somewhere that T.S. Elliot said/wrote something to the effect that, a truly educated person is someone who learned things they didn’t want to. Presumably this refers to folks churning through Latin or Greek grammar classes thinking they’d rather be at a pub. It certainly points to a quandary for the autodidact of my type.

I was never disciplined enough to follow the regimen of classes, schools and teachers, but I was curious and blessed with an ability to see connections that were more intuitive than intellectual. This is a reasonably good method to get an education if you keep at it for a long time, read continuously, and have a variety of things you find interesting and take the time to pursue them.

Sometimes though, I sort of wish that I had followed directions a little better.

Then again, I’m glad I didn’t, and gotten bent and stuffed into a niche that left me “productive” and “contributing” and facile in the ways of “going along to get along”.

Of course that could also be a good description of a fool (the nail that sticks out gets hammered down).

I find it ironic that today, by choice, and the absolute result of my contrary ways, I follow a path that asks me to discipline myself. As I go along this path I find more real freedom and openness than I ever could have imagined possible left to my own devices.

It seems that it is good to learn in structured settings and it is also good learn by jumping into the deep end.

Today I had a short conversation with a college student between freshman and sophomore years and was happy to hear his enthusiasm for college, but sort of uneasy when he described the reading program he had for the Summer. I thought , “That’s it? For a whole Summer? Three books? Yikes!”

To this young person I would suggest that he goes to two people he respects and two people he doesn’t, and ask each one to recommend three books to read. Get those books and read them this Summer.

I would recommend a book by Louis L’Amour titled “Education of Wandering Man”. I’ve never read any of his westerns but this memoir of his self-education as a itinerant worker and wanderer is a inspiring look at an independent thinkers approach.

We are truly fortunate to live in a time and place when literally all of the worlds written/gathered knowledge is accessible to anyone with a library card. WoW!!

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