Don’t Live in a Bubble
As the old saying goes, “you learn something new everyday”. For most people this is probably a vast understatement, but even so, with 7 billion people and the whole wide universe out there, all our learning barely scratches the surface — it’s rather like dragging a heavy bucketful of water out of the Pacific Ocean. Nevertheless the are so many reasons to learn as much as we possibly can, about as many different topics as we can.
One reason is so that we can learn from the mistakes and successes of those who have gone before us. I once heard someone suggest that history is a useless subject, but I utterly disagree. History is the study of things that have happened in the past, and if we know what has happened in the past we can predict what will happen in the future — and act accordingly. Why should humanity make the same mistakes over and over again? So many wars have claimed millions of lives each within the last hundred years, and if we don’t learn about them they could happen again and again. Humans have such a short memory (there’s a good song at the other end of the link), but if we all learn more about the events of the past, maybe these atrocities will happen less often.
Another reason to learn, and branch out our fields of knowledge, is so that we can appreciate other people better. Everyone has different interests, and interests are the most fun when you have other people to share them with. By studying foreign languages; listening to all different kinds of music; paying attention when our friends talk about their favourite sports — we gain assets which will help us to connect with a broad range of people. We’ll be able to talk to all sorts of people and know where they’re coming from and what they’re talking about. Don’t live in a bubble.
Finally, if you take the trouble to find out about all sorts of things — not just your pet interests — you just might find something better. You might find a sport more interesting than any you’ve ever watched or played (if you’re looking for one, by the way, try AFL!); or you might find a skill you never knew you had. For Christmas my sister made me three hacky-sacks and with them I’ve learnt how to juggle. By branching out and trying new things we can pick up interesting skills like this. As Liam used as an example, rather than writing traditional fantasy for the rest of your life, try writing some horror or some science-fiction versions of fair-tales.
But even though it’s awesome to seek knowledge, often it’s not very high on my priority list. Like many people (though I do appreciate school) I rejoice at holidays and groan at going back to my studies. Too often I spent my Saturdays playing computer games or on Facebook rather than studying other languages or reading good books. We appreciate the results of learning, but we don’t like to put the effort in.
So let’s apply this stuff. I don’t want to be in the dark about wars that have ravaged our planet killing millions of people each. I don’t want to speak English, and only English, all my life. I want to branch out and learn more — and learn more deeply about what I know already. All this is easy to say and not so easy to do, when it comes down to it. Nevertheless, let’s apply it. Don’t live in a bubble.