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Learning just for the sake of it?


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#1    Ryu

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 01:59 AM

"Learn for the sake of learning"...Society has been chanting this tired and worn out mantra for decades yet I never seen a valid reason for following it.

So far education has been pursued for basically one reason and that is to get a skill for a job or to further ones skills for said job. Basically it is all about the all-mighty "job".

But the so-called experts like to espouse the virtues of learning because it is supposedly a good thing to do, good, at least, for the profit margins of colleges and bookstores.

So I wondered, just why anyone would expend so much time and effort learning something that has no value or use in their real life?
One can easily dismiss the question by flippantly saying that if one is curious then what does it matter?

Ok..fine. But after you have learned Spanish/Japanese/Russian/Swahili, etc then what? After you memorized all the types of butterflies and their migrations, what then? After studying the life cycle of a slug, what will you do with that info?
If you have no real and practical use for any of it whatsoever then what is the point? Brag to your friends that you wasted mega bucks learning something that you will never use?

Is learning just for the heck of it really advisable? Is it even desirable to fill ones head with memorized stuff that means and lends nothing to ones life?

Just musing really.


#2    ReaperS_ParadoX

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 02:17 AM

You got me man, there's no point in learning anything other than what pertains to your specific job, even if you enjoy something a lot.  I went to school for botany then like after the first year I figured what type of job am I gonna get with a degree in this

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#3    ShadowSot

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 02:17 AM

Well, speaking for myself learning for the hell of it has greatly expanded my job options and my ability to do jobs. The more I know the more ideas I am able to bring to the table.
More, getting involved in things not directly related to my job (I try to go to at least one science, skepticism, or nerd related conference a year, for example) helps me network with people.
Learning new things also helps keep the mind sharp, something good if you work in information related fields.
And you have to keep in mind too that the people who say this stuff are people who enjoy learning.
So maybe it is as important to do what you enjoy doing, which as a by product encourages you to learn more about it.

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#4    Ryu

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 02:21 AM

Well again it is always about the 'job" isn't it and not about anything else?
Again if a piece of information has no real value or use in real life (aside from the "job") what purpose does it serve?
Who benefits? I mean really benefit other than bragging that you just learned Swahili.


#5    spartan max2

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 02:24 AM

Learning just for the sake of learning is misleading.

The thing Is humans are actually built to learn.  Our brains reward center activates when we learn and makes us feel good, just like when we exercise or eat.

Learning is actually fun and a very natural human thing. The problem is school comes along and makes it seem boring and then people don't want to learn.

So the saying is misleading but in reality you should learn because you believe it or not do enjoy it :innocent:

Edit: plus learning pointless stuff keeps your brain sharp and helps you not get Alzheimer's or dementia when you get old.

Edited by spartan max2, 26 July 2013 - 02:25 AM.

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#6    Arpee

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 02:40 AM

I agree with "learning for the sake of learning" but only if you are learning about something that interests you. You are your own individual and should not be forced to learn about things you don't care about against your will.

What else is there to do but have fun and learn?

Love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the ungrateful and to the evil. - Luke 6:35

#7    ShadowSot

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 02:41 AM

View PostRyu, on 26 July 2013 - 02:21 AM, said:

Well again it is always about the 'job" isn't it and not about anything else?
Again if a piece of information has no real value or use in real life (aside from the "job") what purpose does it serve?
Who benefits? I mean really benefit other than bragging that you just learned Swahili.
Ah I see what you mean. I misunderstood.
Look, the guys who say that enjoy learning new things. If you don't enjoy learning new things, then don't do it. Do something else you enjoy. I like learning stuff just for the hell of it. The main benefit I get out of it is the occasional use in conversations in places like this forums or the few times I get to be involved with people whose specialties lie in that field.

It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone's fault. If it was us, what did that make Me? After all, I'm one of Us. I must be. I've certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We're always one of Us. It's Them that do the bad things.
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#8    The Silver Thong

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 02:53 AM

My job is almost a brainless activity now on par with playing tic tac toe with yourself. I have been doing it for 12 yrs now so maybe a job change but yes, I have become routine and it pays ok.  If I did not stimulate my brain for something other then work I would chew my damn ears off.  Once you stop learning no matter the subject you are brain dead.  

Whats the hardest part of a vegetable to eat.....








The wheel chair.

Edited by The Silver Thong, 26 July 2013 - 02:55 AM.

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#9    flbrnt

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 03:16 AM

View PostRyu, on 26 July 2013 - 01:59 AM, said:

"Learn for the sake of learning"...Society has been chanting this tired and worn out mantra for decades yet I never seen a valid reason for following it.

So far education has been pursued for basically one reason and that is to get a skill for a job or to further ones skills for said job. Basically it is all about the all-mighty "job".

But the so-called experts like to espouse the virtues of learning because it is supposedly a good thing to do, good, at least, for the profit margins of colleges and bookstores.

So I wondered, just why anyone would expend so much time and effort learning something that has no value or use in their real life?
One can easily dismiss the question by flippantly saying that if one is curious then what does it matter?

Ok..fine. But after you have learned Spanish/Japanese/Russian/Swahili, etc then what? After you memorized all the types of butterflies and their migrations, what then? After studying the life cycle of a slug, what will you do with that info?
If you have no real and practical use for any of it whatsoever then what is the point? Brag to your friends that you wasted mega bucks learning something that you will never use?

Is learning just for the heck of it really advisable? Is it even desirable to fill ones head with memorized stuff that means and lends nothing to ones life?

Just musing really.
Speaking for myself, I have spent most of my 63 years learning everything I could. The mind grows with every piece of information added to it and as it grows its ability to perceive and understand grows. Many subjects I initially found boring I later found fascinating. I can now see things many people don't seem able to and hope to be able to see more. Ignorance is blindness. I travel this path because I enjoy the journey and because I live a far richer, fulfilling life than I would otherwise. As a citizen of a democracy it is my duty to understand as much as possible when I go into the voting booth. For too long have ignorant people ruled the world. Understanding is important and that is not just knowledge but knowledge with structure. Everything is related and growing in one direction helps growth in another. Learning is another word for growing and without growth we die. The more you know the more you realize just how ignorant you are and the more you want to correct that. You will never reach your goal but it is the journey that is enjoyable. To learn only for a job is to turn oneself into a drone.


#10    Beany

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 04:51 AM

Learning for its own sake, heck, that's the best kind. Doing it not because it's gonna pay off later, or because someone orders you to, or because it's going to further your career, but simply because you've found something fascinating, that tweaks your curiosity, that captures your imagination, that speaks to something inside of you, that sweeps you away into a whole other world, why, it's almost sinful it brings so much pleasure. Of course it has value, it feeds our souls, it enriches our life's experiences, it helps us understand ourselves and the world we live in a little better. And that's my idea of practical.


#11    Ryu

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 12:10 PM

I guess I just have difficulty with the concept of learning something merely "because".
It just seems a waste of time and energy to learn something that has no value other than saying "Look, I learned how to surf on a pool of pudding." or something.

So it is said it expands the mind....for what? Who are you going to talk to these days about anything.
For decades peoples interests almost never go beyond sports or trivial banter so trying to talk about astronomy or history is out, especially if the topic doesn't mention anything about "jesus" or is related to religion.

I am full well aware of how ignorant I am, I knew this when I was a stupid little toddler and no matter how much I learn, I will still be stupid, of course.

Anyways..the concept is just alien to me. Maybe it doesn't help that as I grew up, learning was only useful if you could make money off it at some point. Other than that it was considered a mere hobby.
Please do not misunderstand me, I understand what you all have said and I appreciate the responses; I guess curiosity and learning never came naturally or easily to me. Even as a kid I rarely asked questions and I didn't pursue anything that interested me.
For that matter nothing came easily for me, everything was a struggle so I guess it was better just to learn only what I had to learn to get by and leave well enough alone.

Whatever I do learn is merely an extra..usually a useless one.


#12    Beany

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 02:00 PM

I'm not sure learning is a volitional act. We are all learning all the time, maybe not formally, but informally, just by being in the world. We learn things like what time of year certain trees begin to bud, or how many arms an octopus has, or that a zebra and a donkey can produce a zonkey, or how deep the Marianas Trench is, we pick up zillions of pieces of information during a lifetime, and I don't think there's any way to prevent that from happening, nor any reason why one would want to.


#13    GreenmansGod

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 02:38 PM

View PostThe Silver Thong, on 26 July 2013 - 02:53 AM, said:


Whats the hardest part of a vegetable to eat.....

The wheel chair.

Y'all are sick dude, made me snort my tea.  :w00t:

Your brain is like anything else, use it or lose it.  I love learning new things.  I am really into history and science. I never used them at a job, but learning has enriched my life in other ways. It has also come in handy when it comes to my health. I can give my Neurologist a run for his money.

"The moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible." Salman Rushdie

#14    Ryu

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 03:01 PM

I see...
However, at the risk of sounding even more stupid than I already am, how is learning something that is inapplicable to real life enriching.

Let's say I had the misfortune of learning the life cycle of a moth (ok, lame but whatever) then what?
After one spends hours, weeks, months or years learning something that is not usable, then what?

I am not trying to be difficult, I just am trying to understand this particular concept.


#15    rashore

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 03:21 PM

I like learning just for the sake of it. It's curiosity, or just sometimes things are interesting. Sometimes it's totally useless information, sometimes it ends up being used.





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