What Are You Learning?

We live in the so-called “Information Age.” What kind of information are you imbibing? Do you watch the outsized, overblown mythology and status-quo (or worse) brainwashing ironically called “the news”? Or do you devour alternative media’s infinite listings of all the ways our world is going and has already gone to hell in the proverbial hand basket? Do you “forget all that stuff” and turn on your favorite TV programming “to numb out”? Or do work and childcare fill your days and nights so fast that you find little time for learning anything at all? Even so, we’re in the Information Age. Information bombards us everywhere we turn. The question remains: “What are you learning?”

Because we have agency over what goes into that noggin of ours.

Yes, certain things demand more of our time and attention than others, but we can still squeeze in some positive, practical and joyful tidbits here and there. Passion exponentially amplifies whatever information we glean, making even small time investments pay bigger learning dividends.

Try to learn five new things every day: little factoids, practical tips, new techniques, a new piece of music, a chant, how to cure an ingrown toenail, how to write (and think) in active voice, or acquiring any old-fashioned but largely forgotten skills. Topic or field doesn’t matter. The only requirement is that the information interests you.

Also consider the ways you acquire information. In this age of zippity doo dah texts, emails, web phones, wifi laundromats, satellite this and LinkedIn that … do you ever … unplug? When was the last time you read an actual, physical book? It’s a different experience than a Kindle — having words on a page go directly to brain rather than projected and received through yet another screen. When was the last time you walked outside and observed Nature? Smelled a rose? Picked your own tomato — either from a garden or a Farmer’s Market table brimful of ugly yet delectable heirlooms? Do you even know what “heirloom” means with regard to food? When was the last time you cut your own hair or made your own lasagna? Have you built anything since Legoland? What about music? Or stories? Do you know any poetry by heart? How often do you visit your local library? Have you ever taken a dance class? Or tried your hand at watercolors?

In the “Information Age,” how quickly most people dismiss any information that comes through the body — through doing instead of watching YouTube videos. How quickly our society dismisses beauty as a luxury, healthy food as a weird obsession, trade skills as “blue collar,” and self-sufficiency as a bizarre, “Doomsday Prepper” lifestyle.

Ummmm, until the Industrial Revolution gave us ugly factories, crowded cities, pollution, toxic pharmaceutical drugs, GMO’s, couch potato desk jobs, and instant everything, beauty, real food, tangible skills, and self-sufficiency were just … Life!

What kind of information do you consume on a daily basis? What kind of things would you prefer to learn and experience? “No time” usually just means you haven’t gotten creative enough with how you use the time available. Listen to books on tape or CD in the car or while working out at the gym. Chant while making dinner. Paint during a few of the hours you would have frittered away on Facebook or in front of the tell-LIE-vision. Plant a handful of seeds and just nurture them to maturity, even if it’s just a basil plant in your Southern window. You’ll learn something. I guarantee it.

We can — as a society and as individuals — reclaim the “Information Age.” Learn what we want to learn. Become the change we wish to see in the world:

“Get over the idea that only children should spend their time in study. Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life.” ~Henry L. Doherty

“It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it.” ~Jacob Bronowski

“The most useful piece of learning for the uses of life is to unlearn what is untrue.” ~Antisthenes

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” ~Alvin Toffler

“I find four great classes of students: The dumb who stay dumb. The dumb who become wise. The wise who go dumb. The wise who remain wise.” ~Martin H. Fischer

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by iheal on August 22, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    It’s amazing how productive I was after I deactivated my Facebook account. You don’t realize how much time screens steal from your day and quality of life until you redefine your relationship with them. So now, instead of “posting”, I blog. Instead of a posting a stream of short blurbs, I spend an hour constructing a meaningful and thought provoking message. And in doing so, I’m learning a lot about how I experience the world and what epiphanies I want to share with others.

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  2. […] Laura Bruno  August 22 2013 […]

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