Knowing better (1)

And I will show you a still more excellent way. Paul of Tarsus – First Letter to the Corinthians We often say (and more often think) that someone (and occasionally even we ourselves) should “know better.” How do we come to know?

Schopenhauer on reading yourself stupid

Schopenhauer had quite a lot to say about reading. He liked good books, but was highly skeptical of most books, and especially of contemporary ones. Here he is – in dialectical* opposition to most of my other posts about reading – on the effects of reading too much: When we read, someone else thinks for us; we repeat merely his…

Educated (6): none the wiser

Chaerephon, as you know, was very impetuous in all his doings, and he went to Delphi and boldly asked the oracle … to tell him whether there was anyone wiser than I was, and the Pythian prophetess answered that there was no man wiser. … When I heard the answer, I said to myself, What can the god mean? and…

Educated (4): shows and telling

This is the missing thought from Handwriting: There are plenty of things that appear to signify education (handwriting, certificates, vocabulary, waffley assertions, accent (sadly), name-dropping, [add yours here]) which might be correlated to education in one way or another but aren’t the same thing at all. These things can be used to put on a show of being educated, either…

Educated (3): things to do

Just a list of the sorts of things that I find to be / create stimulating or “high learning” environments (is there a better term for this?). Interact with an AI – even if not the latest – in a text based adventure game Subscribe to a newsletter (this one? this one? this one?) Start a newsletter Specialise in cooking…

Educated (2): How to learn to learn

As the pace of technological change accelerates, we will spend most of our lives as – in Kevin Kelly’s words – perpetual newbies. Even so-called “digital natives” will find themselves out of their comfort zones in a few short years, jealous of how the next generation seems to find the newest technology so easy. In this context, the ability to…

Recommendation: Kevin Kelly on the future of…

Kevin Kelly is reliably insightful and thought-provoking and often fascinating. I don’t think I’ve ever read or listened to something of his that hasn’t made me see the world (particularly technology) in a new way, and with my curiosity piqued to find out more. Today’s recommendation is for a new series of 36 short lectures he’s sharing on YouTube about…

Educated (1): handwriting

What does it mean to be educated? Seven years ago I was working by a railway line in Jakarta, writing down some notes from a conversation with someone who lived there. As I wrote, someone else leaned over my shoulder and had a look at my notes for a minute before nodding approvingly and saying: “He’s a high school graduate.”*…

More on old books: Mortimer Adler on permanent literature

The faster things change, the more important our reference points if we want to avoid motion sickness. The great books are always contemporary. In contrast, the books we call “contemporary,” because they are currently popular, last only for a year or two, or ten at the most. They soon become antiquated. You probably cannot recall the names of the bestsellers…