Learning Disinterested Knowledge is Eating Pecan Pie.


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Learning Disinterested Knowledge is Eating Pecan Pie.

I have discovered that I tend to respond to the understanding of a new idea much as I respond to eating pecan pie. The ‘eureka’ moment resulting from the understanding of a new idea, which I had been pursuing, is similar to the feeling I have when eating a delicious piece of pecan pie.

Every bite of that pecan pie is extremely pleasurable; but after a few bites, while I desire to taste many more bites, my body informs me to stop and eat no more for a while.

When I enjoy the eureka moment of discover while studying I find that I feel the same kind of inclination. I want to study the matter further but my body seems to inform me that I must put the book down, walk around for a while, and let my mind digest what I have learned.

Just as I must let my body digest the rich pie I must also allow the mind to digest the rich new idea. I think that unconsciously my mind is reordering many of my previously constructed concepts to be in accordance with the new idea. The new idea is as rich to my mind as is the pecan pie is rich to my body.

My experience leads me to conclude that there is a world of difference in picking up a fragment of knowledge here and there versus seeking knowledge for an answer to a question of significance. There is a world of difference between taking a stroll in the woods on occasion versus climbing a mountain because you wish to understand what climbing a mountain is about or perhaps you want to understand what it means to accomplish a feat of significance only because you want it and not because there is ‘money in it’.

I think that every adult needs to experience the act of intellectual understanding; an act that Carl Sagan describes as “Understanding is a kind of ecstasy.”

This quotation of Carl Rogers might illuminate my meaning:

I want to talk about learning. But not the lifeless, sterile, futile, quickly forgotten stuff that is crammed in to the mind of the poor helpless individual tied into his seat by ironclad bonds of conformity! I am talking about LEARNING - the insatiable curiosity that drives the adolescent boy to absorb everything he can see or hear or read about gasoline engines in order to improve the efficiency and speed of his 'cruiser'. I am talking about the student who says, "I am discovering, drawing in from the outside, and making that which is drawn in a real part of me." I am talking about any learning in which the experience of the learner progresses along this line: "No, no, that's not what I want"; "Wait! This is closer to what I am interested in, what I need"; "Ah, here it is! Now I'm grasping and comprehending what I need and what I want to know!"

When we undertake such a journey of discovery we need reliable sources of information. We need information that we can build a strong foundation for understanding. Where do we find such reliable information? We find it in the library or through Google on the Internet or combinations thereof.

I have a ‘Friends of the Library’ card from a college near me. This card allows me, for a yearly fee of $25, to borrow any book in that gigantic library. Experts in every domain of knowledge have written books just especially for laypersons like you and I.

Lincoln was an autodidact. Perhaps self-actualizing self-learning is for you. When your school daze is complete it is a good time to begin the learning process.