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Published: April 27th 2015

by: Caitlin Jackson

LearningFor Life

'The Future Soon'
by K Rupp

Become an active learnerto make a better future

Intellectual self-sufficiency leads to overall self-sufficiency

We're taught to become proficient in one thing; a specialist in order to separate ourselves from others in the world of business. In return, we can expect ‘other specialists’ to create the things that we need for our lives. Grow food for us, design our homes, manufacture our necessities. We’re left with little control or understanding of the big picture. Our immediate environments are designed for us. All we can do is live in it and accept it for what it is.

'Wooden Sculpture of Science Genetics'

Perhaps we don’t need to segregate ourselves from knowledge. Perhaps learning to be apart of the creation of our own habitats is part of being a specialist. The learning of one thing lends itself to a better understanding of the big picture.

Self-sufficiency at home is more than being able to satisfy one's basic needs, it also requires being emotionally and intellectually independent. Just as we strive to create an abundance of food and energy, we must also strive to create an abundance of knowledge. It is the understanding we gain from learning that will give us the freedom to truly become a society run by self-sufficient individuals.

Not only can we do more than we think, we must.

These words were left on my husbands notes for Floweth. Through our discussions of researching this new way of life, we’ve determined a seemingly endless list of topics necessary to cover. It’s not enough to read it, we must know how it applies to our lives. This new way of life requires more than passive education, it requires a paradigm shift to our perceptions of learning. We must be active learners in our environments. Curious beings.

In school, we’re forced to learn things to the tune of academia and often out of tune with our own natural curiosity. Things don’t seem applicable if they’re not inline with what we want to ‘be’ when we grow up. Why learn integrals if you’re not going to be mathematician? Why learn to dissect a frog if you’re not going to be a surgeon? In a specialist driven world, learning things out of sync to your prospective job is a waste of time. Or is it?

Those who use their innate curiosity tend to observe and comprehend with greater depth. Richard Feynman, a physicist, understood this very early. In his book, Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! , he tells stories of birdwatching with his father. His father never told him what species of birds they were looking at, rather they discussed the behavior of the birds. Later, when he met with his friends, he noticed that his friends’ fathers had taught them the names of the birds but they had no knowledge of how the birds behaved. They knew very little about them at all.

Feynman was a strict physicist for much of his career; he didn’t want to be bothered with other subjects, particularly the humanities. Over time he allowed himself to take on other ideas. He developed his own strategy for learning things quickly, now called the the Feynman Technique. We have adopted this strategy for Floweth as well as Feynman's drive to learn for the sake of learning.

Specialization remains a driving force of innovation. It helps us dig deeper into concepts as a whole. But the discoveries we make as specialists lose meaning if we don’t learn beyond our personal box of tools.

All of the knowledge gained is somehow connected back to our worlds one way or another. Computers, for example, are entering our homes through more and more devices. Our phones, our cars, and (for some) homes have built in computers. The more advanced these things become the more disconnected we will be with the devices that run our lives. On the surface, we can navigate these systems easily. But think of how you react when you’re ‘well designed’ computer stops behaving like it’s supposed to. Our lives are so attached to them. Work, pictures, e-mails. To lose control of these things brings anxiety and fear. Except for those who have decided to learn about it and not just how to use it. The longer we choose to simply be consumers, the less we will understand our future environment; the less control we will have over it’s design. The same is true for everything else. Agriculture, homes, cities, manufacturing. All of this will continue to move forward whether or not we do anything. But the direction it takes is directly affected by how much we decide to take part in it. So, how much of a say do you want in the world we create?

'Berry Hard Work'

Not only can we do more than we think, we must.

  • Don't segregate yourself from knowledge!
  • Become emotionally and intellectually independent.
  • How much of a say do you want in the world we create?