love to learn

love to learn
Photo by Marius Masalar / Unsplash

I took last week off to read a book. It's a very good book, and I'll tell you all about it very soon! I have a lot to process. In the meantime, I'll take a moment to share what's on my mind now. This is a Charis-Smith-style blog post 😉

I'm a chronic student. For better or for worse, I'm now in 18th grade and won't graduate until I finish 21st. Where I used to while away the hours conferring with the flowers, these days you'll find most of my consultations happening with online databases of medical research. Instead of growing moss in jars on window sills, now I grow jars of human organs in incubators.

Even my hobbies have matured to fruition. Reading books has become writing books. Playing video games all afternoon has pleasantly evolved to playing the organ late into the evening. My liberal arts education in music, language, computation, communication, engineering, and linguistics serves me well every day. I couldn't imagine life any other way!

Most of my education, however, hasn't made me measurably more valuable. If anything, it's made me worse by constantly pushing me to question authority, test things beyond their breaking points, and take as much time as necessary to understand something, regardless of my practical ability to actually manufacture it. Most days, I'm about as effectual as the Wizards of Ankh Morpork at Unseen University:

My education has been excellent to give me practical skills in problem solving, interpersonal interactions, and team management. I use those skills every day in my current job (happily paid by the unwitting taxpayers of this great nation). I love all those things! But skills hold no value apart from the value of what they deliver. Yep, I'm working on life-saving medical technology. I'm not going to stop any time soon. But reading Don Quixote in its original form doesn't directly help me with that. No matter how well I play the organ, it doesn't make a bit of difference to my clinical outcomes. My understanding of the sociolinguistic history of the Midwest doesn't do a thing to make my cells grow faster.

S0 do I have an end goal with all this education? Maybe, but I personally hate goals. My first goal might be to pay for the earlier parts of it by leveraging the latter parts of it to generate big piles of cash. But I could have avoided the whole hullabaloo by continuing my high school job after I graduated from my state-mandated dose of nonconsensual, random-access knowledge buffet. Had I done that, I'd likely be the proud proprietor of the premier lawn care and landscaping service in West Texas. But I was more interested in playing the bassoon at the time.

Really, I'm the same as a kid who eats too many cookies. I'm just indulging my hedonistic desire to do what I love every day of my life. Really, the wisdom my family taught me still rings true:

If you do what you love, you'll love what you do.
–my family

I love my life. The fact that I can fill my brain with a million hyperlinks to a million-million other things makes every conversation, every action, every chore, every book, every paper, every note on a keyboard an explosion of pleasure as all of creation converges on this single, present moment and I better understand my place in it.

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