Monday, 7 January 2013

Learning is good for you.

On the day you were born, you knew little. True, you had your instincts. We all do. But just about all the knowledge you now possess has been acquired since then.

Some of it was gathered through experiment: that's how you know to test the bathwater before you step into it, and what avocado tastes like. A lot came to you through formal learning, leaving you able to quote dates from history, divide 7,610 by 57, spell necessary and tell me what the capital of France is.

Then there's the informal learning, which means you perhaps have the ability to stand up for yourself, know how to get along with others, and (maybe did have) the capacity to wheedle a little pocket money out of an older relative.

We take it for granted that a tiny child has everything to learn, but can easily slip into thinking that it's all downhill from there on the acquiring knowledge front, believing that it's okay to lose the insatiable appetite we once had to explore, discover and make sense of the world.

But when we lose our desire to do these things, don't we also perhaps lose some of our love for life? Don't we become more inward-focused and stuck in our ways?

If you were still at school, this is about the time of year that you'd be packing up your pencil case ready to begin a new term. Remember how that felt?

In which case, why not make a resolution to keep on learning new things this year?