Another day, another set of reflections.
What I learned on my own I still remember.Nassim Nicholas Taleb, from The Bed of Procrustes
There’s a stark difference between education and learning.
One of the foundations of learning is engagement. If someone doesn’t pay attention, they don’t learn.
A lot of our school system is based on things that aren’t engaging to students, which is why the focus is on rote repetition and memorization (though less so than in the past, and our level of engagement is perhaps no higher).
Another part of this is that there’s an element of activity in doing, rather than just passive reception, which fosters greater memory.
I read incessantly. More or less incessantly. Okay, I read a lot. Not infinitely, but certainly more than average. I’ve been aiming for a book a week, and I don’t necessarily keep up with that on a micr0-scale but I certainly keep it up on a yearly scale.
One of the things that I’ve noticed is that I don’t remember a majority of what I learned in school. I’ve probably forgotten a lot of what I learned on my own as well.
However, it’s certainly a lot less painful to forget something I read than something I paid to learn.
Oh, and of course, the few things I remember from school were the most interesting to me. Anything I was forced to learn I only remembered if it turned out to be surprisingly pleasant.
Montaigne may have been right.
Be surprised by some new learning every day.
Strive to learn, and learn outside my bubble.
Do, don’t observe.
“For example” is not proof.Yiddish proverb, from The Viking Book of Aphorisms
One of the things that I discussed with an acquaintance today is how modern history curriculum sucks because it tries to be causal.
They try to justify their existence by looking at patterns and then putting together links and a chain of events.
I’ve been reading through Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Incerto, and the current book I’m on, The Black Swan (Amazon affiliate link), covers this as one of the fallacies of reasoning that stem from human limitations.
I think it’s also a tendency to like to justify knowledge beyond just what it is good for. Knowing things is beneficial, but people have this tendency to be restless with information, to stretch and interpret it until they are left not with the original but rather an interpretation of it, having forgotten the objective fact in favor of the worldview’s supporting pillar.
This has self-evident risks, because if the process goes wrong it can go dreadfully wrong.
I am guilty of having “For example” in my top ten phrases.
Now, to be fair, I tend to use it literally in the sense of providing an example.
I don’t typically care to win arguments.
No, that’s untrue.
I don’t typically care to argue. When I do I like winning.
But I don’t argue, and most of the time I give an example it’s not to prove my point but simply to clarify what I mean.
With that said, I’m not making this an “agree with every aphorism” thing but rather a “reflect on every aphorism” thing, and I think I’ll partially disagree with this.
Evidence is good.
Bad evidence is bad.
When I give an example to try to prove something, I will make sure it actually proves my point.
Don’t mistake the tree for the forest.
Trust with hesitation.