Author Topic: On Learning  (Read 5959 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Ender

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2398
    • View Profile
On Learning
« on: May 27, 2007, 01:00:15 PM »
EDIT: As this topic was just recently revived, it came to my attention to synchronize what I post here with my latest revision.

Disclaimer: My friend always says "learning is overrated," yet he's a very learned person himself. I never understood why he said this, and I still don't, but before writing this a thought popped up: basically, how after you learn something -- your judgment becomes harsher, and beauty becomes is not only made more intense but also made more scarce.

There’s something to be said about learning. And I mean learning, not learning. Every time you learn something, a new potential of higher beauty springs into existence. You become more sensitive to life, more easily stimulated by everyday accidents of meaning. But there’s more to the story than that. After you learn something, your criteria becomes stricter, and your judgment less forgiving. What you once thought to be beautiful now wilts under a harsher sun. You start to see trucks run over squirrels, birds fumble in flight, and clichés appear in writing.

It’s really just like a painting on the wall. The distanced observer has no ability to see the brushstrokes — and never has come close enough to any painting to see such signatures, as a matter of fact — and can therefore appreciate an Average Joe’s sloppy painting. The remembered paintings that the distanced observer can compare such an artifact to may be limitless in number but will still always be limited by their irrevocable homogeneity and narrow confines of inequality. The curious observer, on the other hand, who creeps closer to the painting will maintain a repetoire inverse to that of the distanced observer. The curious observer will see these brushstrokes cleary, and perhaps ninety-nine out of a hundred times he or she will find the so-called “art” to be a travesty on the grounds of wasted time and attention and general lack of inspiration. But there will be that one time where this same curious observer discovers newfound beauty far beyond the imagination of the distanced observer.

And so follows the ensuing question: where do you get the higher mean value, in being curious or not? Upon my contention that no amount of scientific logic can hold ground in such a philosophical arena, I will send as my fighter Yet Another Analogy, and pray that the reader has enough insanity to accept such a tentative means of explanation. (After all, writers are meant to be guides, not teachers.)

Back in the times before Greek ingenuity, but far after the extinction of the Neanderthals, and immediately following the miraculous discovery of a thing called buoyancy, it was a human endeavor — a priority, rather… an obsession — to find out which dimensions of a rectangular pool kept to constant length and volume were most fulfilling and enjoyable. These primitive beings elected ten wise men to research this question, who spent days building pools of adjusted width and height, testing them out in the World’s First Empirical Approach.

After a while of experimentation, nine out of ten of the scientists concluded that it was better to increase the width of the pool than it was to increase the height, as the larger width guaranteed more room for swimming. The one dissenting character did not have a readily communicable reason for choosing a pool of greater depth, but rather a nagging fascination with the intangible beneath his treading feet, in the dark blue abyss of the tall, skinny pool.

The man remained treading in his pool for days on end. His curious behavior perplexed his fellow scientists, to the point of nervousness and frustration. The onlookers eventually turned him into a sport, placing bets on whether he’d ever get out or first die of exhaustion. When they saw that these bets didn’t affect him, they started insulting him, taunting him, whetting their words against the most base forms of contumely criteria. But when they found him impervious to their taunting, they devised a new strategy. They pilfered his house of all expensive portable belongings, taking them for their own. The strange man once again remained uninterested.

It was not until one of the nine scientists decided to throw the strange man’s battle pole into the pool that the aggressors provoked a reaction. Upon seeing the butt of his battle pole sink into the blue abyss beneath him, the strange man submerged, with his eyes open, swimming down to the sight of his prized belonging. The nine dry instigators were baffled by his disappearance, searching frantically for their estranged fellow hidden in the water. About twenty seconds later, to their surprise and somewhat sport-like satisfaction, the strange man breached the water’s surface, battle pole in hand. He climbed out of his pool and walked straight towards the perplexed pitcher of his battle pole, stopping to thank him.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2007, 12:18:45 AM by Ender »

Offline dark_drake

  • Mufasa was 10x the lion Simba was.
  • x86
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2447
  • Dun dun dun
    • View Profile
Re: On Learning
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2007, 11:23:05 PM »
For some reason or another, that story about the swimming pool sounds familiar.  :-\
errr... something like that...

Offline Armin

  • Honorary Leader
  • x86
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2480
    • View Profile
Re: On Learning
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2007, 11:52:11 PM »
Another great example of this is music. It's pretty ironic you brought it up now, because I just realized this about a week ago.
Hitmen: art is gay

Offline Ender

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2398
    • View Profile
Re: On Learning
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2007, 01:49:58 AM »
For some reason or another, that story about the swimming pool sounds familiar.  :-\

It's original, as far as I know.

Offline Melissa

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 6
    • View Profile
Re: On Learning
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2007, 04:57:16 PM »
This reminds me of something I would hear at a school assembly (unfortunately a daily occurrence).  I go to a private school, and they love preaching to us.  The school motto is "nil magnum nisi bonum" (nothing is great unless it is good). Ick.  Sort of twisted since they will excuse anything if your family has money. 

Good work though; your analogy makes your message memorable. :)
« Last Edit: July 20, 2007, 05:03:15 PM by Melissa »

Offline Ender

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2398
    • View Profile
Re: On Learning
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2007, 12:19:18 AM »
:-*

Offline Explicit

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 718
  • Hail Bender!
    • View Profile
Re: On Learning
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2007, 07:06:56 AM »
Quote
There’s something to be said about learning. And I mean learning, not learning. Every time you learn something, a new potential of higher beauty springs into existence. You become more sensitive to life, more easily stimulated by everyday accidents of meaning. But there’s more to the story than that. After you learn something, your criteria becomes stricter, and your judgment less forgiving. What you once thought to be beautiful now wilts under a harsher sun. You start to see trucks run over squirrels, birds fumble in flight, and clichés appear in writing.

I'd have to disagree with the statement in bold.  Learning is essentially awareness.  Criteria doesn't become stricter as your learning progresses, but rather, becomes more malleable to the person's will.  The same thing goes for judgement.

I like to think of it as the light element of a scenic design for a film.  With light being awareness, you are in control of what you shed light on.  The way you go about shedding that light is how you eventually come to define it.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2007, 07:39:37 AM by Explicit[nK] »
Quote
Like all things in life, pumping is just a primitive, degenerate form of bending.

Quote
Hey, I don't tell you how to tell me what to do, so don't tell me how to do what you tell me to do! ... Bender knows when to use finesse.

[13:41:45]<@Fapiko> Why is TehUser asking for wang pictures?
[13:42:03]<@TehUser> I wasn't asking for wang pictures, I was looking at them.
[13:47:40]<@TehUser> Mine's fairly short.

Offline GameSnake

  • News hound
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2940
    • View Profile
Re: On Learning
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2007, 02:37:38 PM »
You could look at learning like working out for your brain, with obvious advantages over those who don't work out.

Offline Explicit

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 718
  • Hail Bender!
    • View Profile
Re: On Learning
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2008, 03:48:26 PM »
Quote
There’s something to be said about learning. And I mean learning, not learning. Every time you learn something, a new potential of higher beauty springs into existence. You become more sensitive to life, more easily stimulated by everyday accidents of meaning. But there’s more to the story than that. After you learn something, your criteria becomes stricter, and your judgment less forgiving. What you once thought to be beautiful now wilts under a harsher sun. You start to see trucks run over squirrels, birds fumble in flight, and clichés appear in writing.

I'd have to disagree with the statement in bold. Learning is essentially awareness. Criteria doesn't become stricter as your learning progresses, but rather, becomes more malleable to the person's will. The same thing goes for judgment.

I like to think of it as the light element of a scenic design for a film. With light being awareness, you are in control of what you shed light on. The way you go about shedding that light is how you eventually come to define it.

I demand a response, Ender.
Quote
Like all things in life, pumping is just a primitive, degenerate form of bending.

Quote
Hey, I don't tell you how to tell me what to do, so don't tell me how to do what you tell me to do! ... Bender knows when to use finesse.

[13:41:45]<@Fapiko> Why is TehUser asking for wang pictures?
[13:42:03]<@TehUser> I wasn't asking for wang pictures, I was looking at them.
[13:47:40]<@TehUser> Mine's fairly short.

Offline Ender

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2398
    • View Profile
Re: On Learning
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2008, 06:58:16 PM »
holy bump

that was some rambling of mine when i was feeling emo. better to e-write than e-mote.

as for your "demand": this is the kind of thing that, if you debate, you get off looking like a fool

Offline Explicit

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 718
  • Hail Bender!
    • View Profile
Re: On Learning
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2008, 04:56:36 PM »
It's not like I'm saying it and taking it heart, but I do wish to hear a response.
Quote
Like all things in life, pumping is just a primitive, degenerate form of bending.

Quote
Hey, I don't tell you how to tell me what to do, so don't tell me how to do what you tell me to do! ... Bender knows when to use finesse.

[13:41:45]<@Fapiko> Why is TehUser asking for wang pictures?
[13:42:03]<@TehUser> I wasn't asking for wang pictures, I was looking at them.
[13:47:40]<@TehUser> Mine's fairly short.

Offline Ender

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2398
    • View Profile
Re: On Learning
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2008, 09:04:38 PM »
Learning generates in us more awareness as well as harsher criticism. Which outweighs the other depends on what side of the bed you wake up that day.

Offline Explicit

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 718
  • Hail Bender!
    • View Profile
Re: On Learning
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2008, 09:58:02 PM »
Learning generates in us more awareness as well as harsher criticism. Which outweighs the other depends on what side of the bed you wake up that day.

OK
Quote
Like all things in life, pumping is just a primitive, degenerate form of bending.

Quote
Hey, I don't tell you how to tell me what to do, so don't tell me how to do what you tell me to do! ... Bender knows when to use finesse.

[13:41:45]<@Fapiko> Why is TehUser asking for wang pictures?
[13:42:03]<@TehUser> I wasn't asking for wang pictures, I was looking at them.
[13:47:40]<@TehUser> Mine's fairly short.

Offline dark_drake

  • Mufasa was 10x the lion Simba was.
  • x86
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2447
  • Dun dun dun
    • View Profile
Re: On Learning
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2008, 11:21:58 PM »
Learning generates in us more awareness as well as harsher criticism. Which outweighs the other depends on what side of the bed you wake up that day.
I wake up on the same side of my bed each day. :(
errr... something like that...

Offline Hitmen

  • B&
  • x86
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1912
    • View Profile
Re: On Learning
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2008, 12:37:38 AM »
Learning generates in us more awareness as well as harsher criticism. Which outweighs the other depends on what side of the bed you wake up that day.
I wake up on the same side of my bed each day. :(
freak
Quote
(22:15:39) Newby: it hurts to swallow