Personal Journeys with Gramma

Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.

I Wanna Know NOW! The Addictive Qualities of Learning


Wouldn’t you love to know EVERYTHING that you’ve always wondered about?  I would.  We know that young children thrive on learning—that rapid learning is the job of babies.  I can remember being utterly delighted when I could finally decode the Sunday Funnies without having to wait for an adult to read them to me.  And when I could ride my two-wheeler bike, I became Sheena, Queen of the Jungle or Dale Evans (if those names don’t ring a bell, ask somebody older) zooming up and down the empty road that had been bulldozed near our house.  Learning is freedom!

In fact, I still become so mesmerized by new information that I can’t help dumping each new scrap of information I learn on everyone who will listen.  Sometimes, my enthusiasm turns out to be badly placed, and I later recant all that I so recently espoused.  But I don’t care.  Better to be too excited than not excited at all.  And better to be too open-minded than never to let a new idea through your filter.  Even if the whole magical insight isn’t worth the cheerleading, some of it probably is—with a little adjustment.  Now that I’ve loosened my filter, I’m discovering all sorts of fresh perspectives I wouldn’t have considered before.

School dampens our zest for learning with tests and obedience.  What child can be excited and sitting silently still at the same time?  It almost hurts.  I remember reading a very sad story about a dog caught in the pyroclastic flow of Vesuvius, and I had to stifle my tears as I walked all the way home before I could recount the tale and my woe for my mother.  I love stories and always did.

But, yes, school did stimulate my curiosity.  I wanted to know everything about evolution and what the heroes in my history book were REALLY like, and why women never seemed to do anything important except maybe nurse or sew.  I loved the look of my page of neatly penned algebra equations and my meticulous drawings of paramecia.  I kept all my spelling tests—in case reporters wanted to feature them in a future biography, and I stored my clay sculptures in shoeboxes.  When I reached college, my impatience multiplied exponentially because each course contained only a few significant insights I thought someone could’ve passed along far more efficiently.

Learning is an addictive high from which I hope I never recover.  I read anything that piques my interest—which is generally anything I don’t know about already.  I absorb documentaries and nature programs on TV.  I delight in films that give me fresh perspectives and watching novices hone their craft on competitive reality series.

I’ve encountered people who want to avoid “nasty stuff”—meaning content that can be depressing or disillusioning.  I can’t understand them, because learning is independence from manipulation.  It’s an antidote to boredom or feelings of being disconnected or trivial.  Learning colors my world with bright hues and fascinating mysteries.  It gives me permission to launch my creativity. It binds me to all the other people in the world who also want nothing more than to stand together in awe.

2 comments on “I Wanna Know NOW! The Addictive Qualities of Learning

  1. Chelo Ludden
    April 27, 2016

    I completely agree. We should never graduate, just keep learning.

    • I figure we’re like plants–either growing or dying. The people who want to bully their way through life, demanding that truth be whatever they want it to be, are withering as we watch. They encourage wildfires with their dry foliage.

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