Monday, July 7, 2014

[Opinion Piece] Be satisfied with what you have, not with what you know...

This is a common enough theme to understand but it's something that has been embedded in my mind this past semester time an time again.

I have decided to return to school and study the science of life, Biology. Mostly because I've always been very curious about it. When I was a kid and just on the cusp of learning to read I would check out large stacks of nonfiction animal or earth science books from the library and learn everything I could out of them. I have also always adored reading through national geographic and once dreamed (I still secretly do) of being a  research explorer. The bigger reason though, besides those listed, is I'm not good at it. I love it and I am excited about it but I am not good at it. Not without effort.

Prior to embarking on this particular path I have considered most of the humanities for my field of study. This because I have excelled at them with very minimal effort my entire life. I am a good artist, a good singer, a good writer, and a good reader. I can pick up most any branch of humanities on the fly and do well at it without exhaustive effort. So why not major in it? I enjoy it, I know it, It's familiar, I could excel!

The thing is, I'm not here to excel. I'd like to of course but that is not the goal. I am here to learn! And learning takes work, takes action, takes a bit of failing, and it takes humility. It requires you to admit to yourself that what you already know is probably a billionth of a fraction of the picture, if that! In order for me to obtain this degree, even fulfilling the least of the requirements expected of me, I am going to have to learn something. I like that. I am going to have to admit that I am ignorant. I need that

Now time for my complaint (If you've read any of my previous posts you were anticipating this bit). WE ARE ALL IGNORANT! Even the so called educated intellectuals are so very much so! And yet, we all believe that we are not. We all believe we are smart. Heck we all believe that the information handed to us through schooling, smart phones, twitter, buzzfeed, etc. Is wholly accurate and after happily absorbing the secondhand swill we accept it as truth and allow ourselves to be satisfied with it. 

We learn something and then stop it. We get to what we believe to be the definitive definition of whatever it is we are learning and then let ourselves be okay with that. We stow it away in our minds and whenever someone brings up a topic that could be tied to it, that could potentially lead to a further enlightening and clarifying of said information we shut it out. Instead of learning something or being instilled with the desire to seek out and learn more about it we spew the knowledge we believe to be completely and inscrutably true and close off our minds to any other potential truths that could be presented to us on that topic! Because we know! We read a book! We read an article! We looked at an internet meme! It was snapchatted to us with #hashbrowns!

Why on earth should you be okay with that? Why on earth should you be OKAY taking everyone else's words for truth?  Why should you be satisfied with what you have when there is literally countless more things out there for the learning and the taking? When there are discoveries still yet to be made and philosophies unexplored? 

Are you a Christian? Awesome! Go read the Torah! There are truths there that could strengthen what you already believe and know to be true!

Are you Atheist! Cool! Read the Bible! Because it is literally the oldest book of amazing literature on the planet even if it isn't what you believe to be true!

Are you an artist? Lovely! Go learn some chemistry! Because your art can be enhanced and perfected with the study of something completely different!

Are you a scientist? Top Shelf! Go audition for a play! Because you can learn so very much about yourself when you play at someone else!

What I'm trying to say is - Stop stopping! Keep Going!

This is even true in the gospel, and WARNING I am launching into a Mormon spiel now.

We listen to talks and lessons but how often do we venture into the scriptures with the hopes of learning something new and testimony shaking? Something that might change us or teach us in ways that we haven't even heard in General Conference? You do know God has promised us endless bounds of knowledge and learning and will answer all of your questions! You know this right? Well then have a little faith in it! ACT on it! Learn something! And when you've "learned" it. Relearn it.