Blogathon: #25 – Why Do We Learn?

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Earlier during the Blogathon I asked: Why Do We Learn?

This isn’t necesarily an easy question. Many people would intepret this as “why do I go to school?” or “why do I go to university?”. That’s a separate issue. The issue is not where you learn or how you learn or what you learn. This is about why: reasons, reflections, ponderings.

Why do we learn? Why do we interpret everything we are exposed to as possible knowledge, filing it away into memory? Why do we repeat something to get it right but not do something wrong again? Why do we make sense of what is surrounding us? Why?

Perhaps it is survival. If you don’t learn how to protect yourself you are in trouble. If you don’t learn your surroundings you will be lost. If you don’t learn, you can’t live because you wouldn’t know how.

Perhaps it is living. Survival is not enough. Survival is all about the needs. Living is about the wants. You need food, but what do you want? Sushi? Bread? Noodles? If you don’t learn how to make a choice and what choice to make, you won’t really live. You’d be surviving, but you haven’t learnt enough to extract the best for yourself.

Perhaps it’s for a career. You need to learn skills to get certain jobs. You need to learn how to manage office politics. You need to learn how to present and how to market. Do you go to school and learn this, or do you learn from experience? Why choose the school? Why choose experience? Why only go through the trouble of learning just for a job, especially when you’re not sure?

Perhaps it’s to give back. You learn when you’ve had enough and share the rest. You learn who not to give to. If you don’t learn about your own control you will either selfishly hoard all or give too much away until those who really need it can’t have it.

Perhaps you think you have to. Everyone does it. Everyone goes to school, goes to university, gets a job. Everyone. But do you learn from there? Why do you learn what you learn? Why do you even bother following other people’s plans?

This is a complex question where answers are never easy to come by. But answers are definitely welcome.

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3 Responses

  1. VERY thought provoking questions! You hangin in there? We’re past the half-way mark. WOOT.

  2. Thank you very much,
    U R really an active and improved woman.
    wish u all the bests.

  3. Kudos for the soul searching questions….
    I will try to provide some of the answers from my point of view. They are strictly personal and not intended to be preaching.

    “Why do we learn? Why do we interpret everything we are exposed to as possible knowledge, filing it away into memory?”
    Learning is not necessarily a conscious effort. It can be an automatic and spontaneous process that goes on in our subconscious and conscious states of mind where certain information and data get stored into our memory (STM/LTM).
    Information and data may not be always stored as ‘knowledge’, it may be stored as an event or an experience. But when we recall and cite them in context of something, and then process, analyze and act upon it, it represents our knowledge.
    Say you went for a drive with a friend yesterday. You would probably remember most of the conversation that you had with your friend but you may not be able to remember how many traffic signals you passed by in course of your drive. Your experience encountered both — the conversation as well as the traffic lights. The conversation got stored automatically, the info on the traffic lights got ignored.
    So, unless we are put into an eternal sleep, we would still be learning.

    I somewhat agree with you on the other reasons of ‘why do we learn’. However I would like to mention here one good reason of going to school. The school is an organized environment and a source for learning. Or else each of us would have to ‘reinvent the wheel’ .


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