My Love of Learning

booksI recently ranted about people who don’t do their own research and expect others to do the work for them. While I still stand by my initial conclusions, I have realized the main cause for this problem. People don’t like to learn anymore. Now keep in mind, “learning” and “school” are not the same thing. Learning is the gaining of new knowledge. School is the location at which some people learn. I’ve always hated school. I love learning. This is my point. People have associated learning with school. Perhaps this is deserved, but they associate learning with the negative side of school. The hard word. The practice. The bullies. The shitty teachers. The food.

This rant, however, is about learning. For the sake of this post, I’ll use learning and education and knowledge pretty much synonymously. I hate stupidity. I really really hate it. I can’t stand mediocrity. I don’t understand people who are content in their ignorance. Sure it’s blissful, but they miss the majesty of knowing things. They don’t get to experience the sense of pride when you master a new skill. They don’t feel the splendor of being able to hold a conversation upon a topic once foreign.

You don’t need school to learn. Just like you don’t stop learning once you stop going to school. Every time you start a new job, you learn new things. I’ve been in the hotel industry for over a decade. I know this business like I know the proverbial back of my hand. When I start a new job, I still learn the new procedures, the new building, the new room layout and features.

What amazes me, and saddens me at the same time, is that we have access to the most knowledge rich resource humanity has ever seen. The internet. There is no longer an excuse for being stupid. There are only two options for not knowing something now. Laziness or a power outage. For instance, I have a fish tank. It started leaking. Rather than buy a new tank, I decided to fix the one I had. I’ve never done this before. I’ve never seen anyone do it. I’ve never met anyone who did it.

But I have the internet. So a 10 minute YouTube video later, and I knew how to fix a leak. Now I admit, knowing how to do something and having the skill are two different things. That’s where practice comes in. I fixed the leak. Then I noticed a second leak. I tried to fix it too, and failed on my first try. Well first try for the second leak. Hopefully on my second try for the second leak, I’ll fix it too. It won’t make me an expert at aquarium repair, but at least I know HOW to fix one.

I play guitar and bass. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot more classical music at work. I like the sound of the violin. I’ve never played one before. I’m not sure I’ve even ever held one before. I know the parts of the violin, because they are the same as a guitar. I don’t know how to use the bow. I don’t know how to use the rosin.

But I have the internet. So I started watching classes on how to play the violin. Sure the first few videos were things I already knew, like what strings were. Now I’m at the 4th video, and I’m learning how and where to move the bow. I don’t even have a violin yet. Maybe I’ll find out I can’t play the violin very well. Maybe I’ll be amazing at it. I’m not sure what my skill level will be. The point is I will know HOW to play.

People need to stop avoiding education just because they think it’s going to be hard work. Learn because then you will know things. Have you ever overheard some people talk about something (religion/politics/entertainment/history/whatever), and you wanted to add something, but didn’t know much about the topic? Learn. Hell, just listening to the aforementioned fake conversation can teach you things. Don’t be afraid of that. Embrace it. Soon, you’ll be in the conversation, instead of a bystander. Perhaps, you’ll even be able to teach someone else what you have learned.

Read. Ask questions. Read. Consult the experts. Read. The answers are out there. They are readily available, and you can find almost everything for free. You don’t have to pay to take a class anymore. Instead, you can just read about it. Sure, if you want to really really master the topic, you should take a class, but I’m not talking about being an expert. I’m just talking about having a rudimentary understanding. That’s what Wikipedia is for. You don’t have to be an idiot anymore. It’s ok. You have my permission to be smart.

Eh. Maybe I’m asking too much. There are still adults in this country that can’t figure out your/you’re or their/there/they’re.

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