Saturday, March 31, 2012

Of being self-taught

They say once you leave the university you’ll feel like you’ve learned nothing and that it’s because it’s been a gradual process and so you don’t feel the great change you’ve been through. But so far I’ve only felt I’ve learned much more exactly the moment I left college, or when I’ve felt free from it. And I don’t feel like it has prepared me for the state I’m now, but rather the opposite. The whole time, I felt they have hindered me from actually making progress.

Honestly, I felt I’ve only started this exponential development when I had the chance to try it all by myself. It seems I’m better at learning things by myself than having teachers telling things. There’s a limit to what one can be taught. There’s a moment when whatever the subject is, it requires a passion that comes from within. A passion that, when ignited, makes learning happen through all possible paths.

I find classes to put me in a very competitive ambient, and that always drains my energy and inspiration. In fact, they always make me feel terrible, I always feel bad about myself as, even when not compared to others, I feel I can’t do my best, it’s as if my loudening would shrink back when seeing by others. My pace simply doesn’t fit to classes. Sometimes I feel like I should be charging some idea some more, but the schedule forces us all to move on just the same.

Maybe I lack discipline, but sometimes I feel I should have more time to explore something when the professor is hurrying ahead. When I read a text I usually forget most of the information when I get to the end of it, and in academic settings such a thing is unforgivable. And yet, although I feel bad for it myself, I know the way my mind absorbs knowledge has been doing me much better than those things.

It’s what I’ve been calling Dreiberg’s Deception (inspired by a fictional article written by Daniel Dreiberg that can be found in Watchmen). It’s the idea that after so much studying your passion and appreciation for the subject disappear. It’s the wearing of the quintessence. It’s the tastelessness that comes from when you’re overchewing something for way too long. And for me there’s no need to separate taste from dedicated study. I don’t think we should stratify activities.

Honestly I think there’s a moment when one must think their own thoughts and explore the potential of the earned freedom. Of course, it requires some discipline for so, not to mention the strength to try new chances after the failures.

Thinking of it now, being self-taught has never been something with a very clear definition. After all, what is it to be self-taught? Reading about the subject and learning about it without a mentor (then again, isn’t the author of the text you’re reading somehow teaching you?), or simply going through it just with your instincts? I like me both, and there’s an incredible feeling to discovering things all by yourself. In short, the pleasure and the pride of using no walkthroughs. But there’s the clear drawback that the rims of perception that need to be crossed take more time when done alone. Any skill being self-taught takes more time. I feel that if I had the whole time in the world, I’d always go for it. Unfortunately not even an optimized usage of time can grant me that.

However, a part of me always still believes in the academical learning. Though I honestly don’t believe I could miss it somehow, as doing it myself isn’t an escape from obligations to exigencies (rather contrary it seems), that part of me keeps making me feel unfulfilled. I find it an unnecessary source of distress, the feeling that I need to be in that intellectual ambient to feel my intelligence is really being put to good use, so I’ll make some effort to make a really decision and settle for a very sounding refusal.

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