Twenty One: Concerning the need to know everything

Originally Posted 20th February 2011

Today was the first tutorial of my new Open University course, it has served two purposes; one, it has inspired me and made me think that this course is going to be both interesting and useful and there is a good chance that I may be a convert to systems thinking, two it has given me cause to think of the nature of education and learning in this country. This second outcome lead me to choose today’s photo, taken in Oxford outside one of its famous colleges (although to my shame I have forgotten which one).

I am on a personal quest to know everything, this is why I have been in some form of education for about 30 of the (very nearly) 35 years I have been alive, not only this but If I need to know about a subject I will get a book about it and more recently google it until my need to know has been satisfied. I think it is probably down to my parents that I was brought up with a “thirst for knowledge” (I don’t come from Greece however) but I have also further developed this tendency on my own. I am however aware that there are people out there who do not share this need to find things out, aware of it but completely uncomprehending of it; I cannot imagine going through life not asking why things happen, or how they work or even just feeling the urge to find something out that i didn’t know. As children we have a natural curiosity about the world around us (one I have never lost), what is it about society that causes this to stop? As with many of the questions in these posts, I am not fully aware of the answer, and any ideas would be welcome!

I think it is about time that we were encouraged to learn for the sake of finding out, to have knowledge for the sake of knowing. This doesn’t have to be in the form of university education (either traditional or the OU) but if we set out to find out a little bit more about the world around us there is an outside chance that society may turn into a more interesting (and interested) place.

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