Daily Bread for 9.12.23: Lifetime Learning

 Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 69. Sunrise is 6:32 AM and sunset 7:09 PM for 12h 37m 30s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 5.5% of its visible disk illuminated.

There will be a meeting of the Public Works Committee at 6 PM

On this day in 1958, Jack Kilby demonstrates the first working integrated circuit while working at Texas Instruments.

 Those who enjoy, even love, a pursuit return to it when time allows. Learning is like this. The best motto the Whitewater Unified School District had was every graduate an engaged lifelong learner.’ See The Whitewater Schools’ Motto, ‘Some College, No Degree’ Isn’t Whitewater’s Problem, and Whitewater School-Related Posts Since March [2023]. 

Michael Roth writes today in the New York Times of The Value of an Education That Never Ends (link is open):

Ultimately, the true student learns freedom by developing curiosity, judgment and creativity in the service of one’s own good and the good of their communities. This flourishing is different from being trained by an instructor to do a task or earn a badge, and it is different from the satisfaction one gets through acquiring objects or experiences in the marketplace.

On campus, students do learn specific tasks and they do enjoy experiences, of course, but as students they are doing something more fundamental and more open-ended. They are learning freedom by learning who they are and what they can do (including how they might think). This almost always happens in concert with others. Students flourish in discovering and developing their capacities together.

That’s why it’s such a challenge to be a perpetual student — as our society becomes atomized and polarized, the informal educational spaces for adults to learn from people who have different points of view are fewer and farther between. And it gets harder to exercise the intellectual humility that being a student requires when one is supposed to have the authority, the certainty, of adulthood. Yet some people manage it at various points in their lives by finding fellow learners. This can happen in book clubs, online classes, Bible study or simply in stimulating interactions with co-workers.

There is a hunger for this. Roughly 200 people join my online Great Books humanities class each week on Coursera. During the pandemic, the number was more than 1,000, and millions around the world find other classes via Khan Academy and edX. The desire for learning is also a desire for connecting. It is not just the desire for a prize or a diploma.

For perpetual students, learning (as opposed to training) has no end. As they reach the end of one path of inquiry, they find themselves already on another. These paths develop their capacities and can’t be delimited in advance of the opportunity for exploring them.

What a shame that Whitewater, with both a high school and a college, finds herself enmired in lesser institutional matters, preoccupying some but inspiring none. 

Kilauea Volcano Erupts in Hawaii for the Third Time in 2023:

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