“Sometimes, when I think of all the time I have spent not learning to do things …” W. Faulkner, Sanctuary, Random House (1958), p. 118.
[Re-Posted from The Old Site, original dd. 16-07-2008. Just keeping the flow. Trying to have more posts than hits and looking increasingly better on that scale.]
Living is learning. Simple, isn’t it? Simple, except in real life, where one is expected to perform and when one is caught up in desires or expectations (like rewards for our performance).
Still, when you think of all the time you spent not learning to do things … you think of all the time your life was barely different from that of a dog [or a giraffe]. Waiting to get your bone [or your leafs]. Learning is not training. It is discovering things as yet undiscovered with the help of an infinite amount of discoveries made before yours, by others but also by yourself. That is what makes learning different from performing; learning is its own reward. It enables more learning, better discoveries, going boldly where no one has ever gone before.
What’s the use? No use. Just more learning. Learning is where risk and reward, effort and expectation bend together into one self-sufficient little knot. Not for benefit of one’s self, not even to benefit others, let alone to benefit mankind.
[And then I made a jump from hermetic to too hermetic …]
The issue of senselessness without after-life, one of Kant´s arguments, can remain an issue only if purpose requires a self as ultimate subject. Learning requires a self but only as coincidental substrate. It doesn’t require the self to get fulfillment of its own efforts; it does not deal reward for merit, it merely wants learning to continue and knowledge to
Learning is a self-fulfilling prophecy. With poetic licence – all learning lives on in further learning.
Obviously, when reality kicks in, things are not that simple. The self is not selfless, like any other living thing it wants to resist annihilation. But that is a prime area of learning – not only as a phenomenon to be studied but also as a reality check on ourselves. Can we be more than creatures that merely live to continue a certain particular kind of living?
[Whilst writing this I was listening to Luz Casal, Best of Luz Casal.]