Sunday, May 24, 2009

Learning for learning

I have piles of books everywhere. I had to steal milk crates to supplement my shelving. Even after that addition I still have books on my floor because I don't have any space for them. I don't have an excuse for the pile of clothing. I have a little alcove (about one metres by two metres) with my amps and guitars and basses. It's a nice organisation I guess. I want to have a space where the living room can have my books and instruments, that way my room just has the books I'm working on reading and my work desk, and a dresser. I really would be down for having spartan space if it weren't for the books and music.

That's somewhat indicative of my personality though. The over flowing of books. I haven't read all of them of course (what's the use of a whole bunch of books you've already read?) but it's nice having all these books. At least once a week I end up pulling books off of my shelves or out of their piles to find some passage or some line. Sometimes it's simply to see what I wrote in a margin, or to find inspiration for a band name, or a story.

I don't really understand people who don't have books. I go to the library too. I understand not buying books, but sometimes you just can't find it at the library. Beyond that used books are brilliant to have around. I have so many books that I got for free from either dumpster diving, or library purges, or the shelves of teachers moving classrooms. I have piles of books that were curiculum for classes I never took. I got some brilliant books on discount that were intended for an English class in Irish literature which I didn't have time to take. The books were great though.

That's the point. I don't really get how people couldn't enjoy these worlds created by others. The sorts of people who end up with favourite television shows should have a similar affinity for reading. "The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them." (Mark Twain) I love stories of all sorts though. I end up watching television shows and feel enthralled. That happens with great books too. I think it's even better with books. I have more stories from books in my head than movies and TV.

That whole gap in my understanding is lined up with my disappointment in so many of the people I've met in college. I've met plenty of wonderful people, and even the people I've met who I didn't like weren't particularly bad, but even among that group of wonderful people, I've found a stunningly low percentage interested in learning. There are people interested in grades, and people interested in careers, and people interested in social activities, but the people interested in learning for learning's sake are few and far between.

When I get excited about what I study, and go on these wonderful little rants from the books I've read, the studies I've read, I feel so lively. It's like a way for me to filter out the people who aren't excited about learning. I drop facts too much. I just bring up random facts in a conversation, or take things literally and explain things to people. I know some of that comes from some of my own insecurities, but I'm pretty damn sure that some of that is me trying to seek out kindred spirits.

I don't think the method really works.

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