Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Need to Learn



According to Ashley Montagu, one of the neotenous drives of of a child is 'the need to learn.' It's one of the traits that should be lifelong, but which affords me an opportunity to experience again what it is like as a child to learn new things. I remember from my childhood lying in the grass and playing with grasshoppers or crickets, or playing in the deep ditch behind my house and catching crayfish, tadpoles, and minnows. That interest in learning continued in high school and especially college (I almost majored in Biology prior to switching to English) when my interest moved more toward the world of ideas and culture. After college, my interests in learning took many paths: religion, philosophy, psychology, and, of course, literature. It was all self-directed study. I was an autodidact, and as far as I'm concerned it served me well.

Now that I'm older and retired, I've re-entered more structured learning at the University of North Florida. So far, it has been the study of art--drawing and painting. I feel that I've re-entered the childlike experience of the 'need to learn'.

A whole array of study possibilities have opened up to me. I'm looking at all that I can learn and trying to decide which subjects I want to study. Among them are Chinese, various writing courses, computer courses, art history, and of course more fine art courses.

I feel like a child again. It's an exciting time in my life. It's a rare opportunity--to be a child with the experience of an adult. It suits me just fine. You might want to give a try. You might feel young again.

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