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October 14, 2015

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Ed S.

I don't know.
Seeing how your birthday is approaching, have you asked Carrie to get you some v- neck Tees in colors other than black, or even just some regular shirts? What's up with that? It might have worked for Steve Jobs, but come on, man....

Ulysses

One has to somehow instill a sense of urgency in the young so they have the motivation to strive. Schwarzenegger called it "staying hungry". I can see the positive and negative sides of grading, but I fear that we have a tendency to reward the jumping of hurdles rather than rewarding the process of learning itself. A person can see learning as a simple process of absorption and regurgitation of information to make a grade, or as a series of light-bulb moments. The former is what we expect kids to do to make the teacher, the school, or the government official in charge of education look good, but it is the latter that will ultimately teach the student the true value of learning - it's a revelationary experience.

The first time I was at university, there was material I didn't really understand. It was of such a theoretical technical nature that I sometimes didn't get that moment where things clicked, yet I still had to sit exams on these subjects. I had to rely on my memory to absorb and regurgitate, and while I passed I never got any pleasure from those modules, seeing them as pointless theory. It didn't help that it was obvious the lecturers were pushing their own agendas, hoping for bright young students to advance their research. If i'd had the light-bulb moment i'm sure I would have seen greater value in what I was studying. In most modules that was indeed the case. I'd emphasise the importance of knowledge that can be applied to real-world examples, which is where I think your anecdotes come in. You give real-world examples of why knowledge is valuable. I'm a big advocate of applied maths, applied physics etc. I don't know what the equivalent thing is in arts but I would guess it must be a branch of philosophy. Philosophy teaches wisdom, and that is something our kids with relatively comfortable lifestyles can easily overlook, because they don't face as much adversity as kids in Africa who have to walk ten miles to get to school. A book can teach you knowledge but only experience can teach you wisdom.

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