I enjoy learning new things. And so I read a lot, watch documentaries, visit museums, etc. But I understand that education is a perilous activity. How so?
Okay, sometimes “learning” involves little more than acquiring new facts: tidbits of information that you can, in effect, collect and shelve somewhere in your mind. But facts can be more than facts. They can be pieces to a puzzle, adding up to a worldview that conflicts with your own present view of the world. Oh-oh. What then?
Even more potentially problematic is learning that something you thought you knew was fully mistaken or at least partially off-the-mark. The question becomes: Can you roll with that punch?
We all have opinions, ideas, beliefs and worldviews. Couple that with the fact that science is every day advancing our knowledge of the universe, from galaxy to quark and everything in between — and even beyond . . . and you’ve got a guaranteed collision between older and the newer. For the origin of our thoughts is in our educational experiences, formal or informal. And no person is omniscient.
Education is particularly perilous for those unwilling to change their minds. If you aren’t averse to change, if you aren’t too emotionally attached to your ideas, chances are you are freer to learn.
And that, I believe, is a good thing.