Learning What We Want to Learn

The things we learn are the things we teach ourselves. The best teacher in the world can’t teach me something if I don’t want to learn it. Same for you. Think of algebra or chemistry. Our teachers stood in front of us for hours and days, trying to get us to learn this stuff, but we didn’t. At least I didn’t. If nothing is learned, was anything really taught?

Half of teaching is learning. The teacher teaches, the student learns. If the student learns everything that is thrown at him, the teacher is a success. But if the student won’t learn what the teacher is trying to teach, then the process of learning is not complete. The teacher didn’t teach, but only because the student refused to learn.

If I don’t want to learn something, I’m not going to, and that’s all there is to it. If I don’t want to learn, no one is going to make me WANT to learn, no matter what. You can lay out the most tantalizing set of facts for me to look at, but if I don’t feel like doing it, it won’t get done. If I ever do decide to take a look at these things, it’s because I decided to and it had nothing to do with you or someone else.

And if I like what I’ve found in front of me, I’m going to learn it because I want to learn it. Some of the material I look at may be perplexing and strange, but I’m going to figure things out because I want to. I’m going to learn this stuff the only way I can. I’m going to teach myself.

When I’m finished with this particular lesson, I’ll probably thank my teacher for all he or she did for me. I’ll thank my teacher for teaching me this lesson, when I actually did all the teaching and I did all the learning. If my teacher had put that dizzying array of material in front of me and then walked away from me, who was my teacher? I learned it, so the teacher had to be me.

If the array was placed in front of me and the teacher was there, answering questions for me, then an assist has to be given to the teacher. But only an assist. The stuff is in front of me because of my teacher and my questions are being answered, but I’m learning because I want to, not because of my teacher’s expertise.

If I decide to shut down my mind, ignore everything again, the teaching stops and the learning stops. It can continue only when I decide it should continue. When I decide it’s time to learn something, I’ll teach it and I’ll learn it. A teacher may be present to help, but everything that’s done is done by me. I alone decide what is learned, so I alone decide what is taught, and I teach it and I learn it.

(This has been an exercise in convoluted logic. Don’t take it seriously.)

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