Fighting Ignorance With a Love of Learning

I sometimes write long posts, as anyone knows who has visited my blog. I don’t just ramble endlessly because I like to hear my own voice. The motivation is that I’m in a constant state of reading and learning, and my blog is the main way I process my own thinking and give it form. I do want to communicate in a way that can be understood by others, but that is a secondary process that arises from the act of writing itself.

Still, I sometimes wonder who may actually be paying attention, assuming anyone is. Most of my posts don’t necessarily get a ton of views or comments. Most don’t get any comments at all, although others get more comments than I know what to do with. I’m not sure why I feel like I need to justify my rambling posts to anyone. I know the rule of blogging, if you want a popular following, is to keep it short. But that ain’t me. My mind rambles… always has done and probably always will. I like my rambling mind, even if others don’t appreciate it as much.

I get so excited by things I learn that I want to share them. Learning is just plain awesome.

Just these past few days I’ve come to understand some things I hadn’t really understood before. For my entire adult life, I’ve heard quotes of Thomas Jefferson writing about dissent such as watering the tree of liberty, but I never really understood it. In reading about Anti-Federalists, I suddenly grasp the larger context of what dissent meant back then. It is kind of strange that an aristocrat like Jefferson would advocate dissent when many of the other founding elites were less welcoming to dissent and its relationship to agrarianism. The pieces came together in my mind and now I better understand something I didn’t fully understand before.

That makes me happy. I’m a tiny bit less ignorant today than I was yesterday. Fighting ignorance one day at a time.

I wish I was better at communicating my excitement about learning. Sometimes it is hard to express why a particular issue or quote fascinates me so much or, as I like to say, gets caught in my craw. I try to connect my thinking about larger issues to a more grounded level, abstract issues to subjective experience, historical issues to present realities. But I suspect I fail more often than I succeed. My rambling mind is my Achille’s Heel. When I ramble, I can really ramble. My mind just goes on and on and on, one thought leading to a thousand other thoughts, one book leading to book after book. My mind vomits out quotes and thoughts, ideas and observations… worthy or not. They are just there in my head and they want to be free.

To most people, I suppose subjects like history are boring. I used to be like that when I was younger. No one was able to communicate to my younger self why history mattered. I was raised to appreciate education, but it took me to leave school before I could develop a genuine love of learning. I’d love to inspire more people toward such a curiosity-driven attitude. The world, past and present, really is an endlessly fascinating place.

Even so, the ignorance in the world sure can be frustrating at times. Ignorance is everywhere, including within myself. It is precisely because our ignorance is greater than our knowledge that one never has to worry about running out of things to learn. I sometimes want to devour the entire world with my mind. There is too much to know for too little time.

7 thoughts on “Fighting Ignorance With a Love of Learning

  1. The direct motivation for writing this was the post right before it. It was a long post. I spent a week writing it off and on when I had the time. After writing such a long post, I sometimes wonder what makes me spend my time like that. I could do all kinds of things with my time, but I choose to sit around reading and writing.

  2. I’ve been blogging for many years now. I’ve figured out the type of things that attract readers. For example, commenting a lot at popular sites with my blog connected to my name can bring vast loads of people, but I rarely comment at those kinds of sites these days (other than sometimes for Amazon reviews) Of course, certain topics are more attractive or less attractive to the type of person dwelling on the interwebs.

    History is not one of those popular topics and, by writing about history, I won’t win any popularity contests. I sort of find it sad that so few people are interested in history. The only way to communicate the interest about history is to closely connect it to some contemporary issue that itself gets a lot of public attention.

    So, maybe I was just pondering how one makes history interesting and how does one communicate one’s own interest so as to infect others. What makes history interesting or boring for people? If I had no desire to communicate well at all, I wouldn’t write in the first place. Communicating well is one of the greatest challenges in life.

    This challenge with history is particularly true the more obscure something is, but the obscure things often include some of the most key historical facts. Most people don’t know anything or want to know anything about John Dickinson. Yet if you don’t know anything about John Dickinson, your understanding of American history is severely deficient. Obscure is far from being irrelevant.

  3. I’m not concerned about popularity. It isn’t even about communicating well in and of itself. My writing always serves a purpose beyond just writing for the sake of it, but my purposes aren’t necessarily anyone else’s purpose.

    More than anything, I want to express something that is worthwhile expressing or something that I feel needs to be expressed, something that is in me to be expressed and hopefully an occasional original insight. To express and have something worthy of being expressed, that is my highest striving.

    But often you can’t know what you have to express until during or even after the writing process. Blog readers and followers, views and comments can’t validate the worth of what one expresses or tries to express. When I write something truly worthwhile, way above average, I know it without needing any outside confirmation. There is something truly meaningful when some genuine insight or viewpoint is captured in words (or in any other medium).

  4. Great post. I also love to learn but started early. I eat up history but got bored in school with learning the same thing over and over.

    So i spread out and learned much on my own. My first being Russian history which has always and continues to fascinate me.

    I ended up getting props from my Russian friends on my knowledge of their history.

    But i always get interested in something (not just history) and learn and research about it non stop until i feel i have it mastered. Well sort of mastered as one can never master a subject material.

    Your blog posts are very excellent it like something i would write if my skills were more developed.

    Keep up the good work.

    • You just commented as I was finishing another post that continued my thoughts from this one.

      When I was younger, I did not like learning because my learning disability made school a horrible experience. But my severe dislike of school is what motivated me to love reading on my own. It happened in 7th grade when I nearly flunked out, partly because instead of doing assignments I would go to the school library and read to my heart’s content whatever I freaking wanted to.

      Back then, I mostly read fiction. It was only in high school that I started reading some non-fiction, but not a whole lot. Reading non-fiction slowly grew on me. That happened when I was in college, once again flunking classes while spending all my time in the library finding more interesting things to do than chemistry or whatever.

      I came to love learning, in spite of school. But if not for school libraries, my present reading addiction may never have developed. Life is funny like that.

  5. Currently not really on anything right now. Sometimes that happens and i have a bit of a lull. Wad doing pretty good on Russian going to go back to that next month.

    Was having tons of fun and learning languages is probably the most challenging thing i have attempted to date without quitting. I usually learn easily so having to put in tons of work can seem alien to me at times. But, i got over the hump so to speak and am confident i can continue learning and become somewhat proficient.

    I found out about spaced repetition and it has been an amazing help. I’m going to use it in other settings with much vocabulary to learn but, on a smaller scale.

    But, i love learning about languages differences and now i can finally learn another language after many attempts in school. Languages and math (most of the time) is where school just doesn’t cut it for me. I know anything can be learned and mastered its just finding the right process and having the desire to learn it.

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