Category Archives: Learning/Education

DELIGHT IN LEARNING

From my forthcoming book on history, Making Connections: Discovering the Riches of the Past:

According to neuroscientist, Daniel Levitin, we are hardwired (he thinks due to evolution, I think due to God) to name our world. Not only are we hardwired to do so, but we delight in doing so:

This innate passion for naming and categorizing can be brought into stark relief by the fact that most of the naming we do in the plant world might be considered strictly unnecessary. Out of the 30,000 edible plants thought to exist on earth, just eleven account for 93% of all that humans eat: oats, corn, rice, wheat, potatoes, yucca (also called tapioca or cassava), sorghum, millet, beans, barley, and rye. Yet our brains evolved to receive a pleasant shot of dopamine when we learn something new and again when we classify it systematically into an ordered structure.[1]

With respect to history, it is easy to see that classification (knowing some of the differences between the Renaissance and the Enlightenment) provides a necessary scaffolding to keep learning and delighting in one’s understanding of the world.

[1] Daniel J. Levitin, The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in an Age of Information Overload (New York, NY: Dutton, 2014), 32.

LOSING SIGHT OF THE BIG PICTURE

 

Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s Military Rules for Leading Your Business

In his book, he relates an entertaining anecdote from the airline industry. A baggage handler broke a musician’s $3,000 guitar, and the musician spent nine months working through the airline’s labyrinthine phone system to no avail. Finally he wrote a song about it, put it on YouTube and got more than 1 million views. The airline’s stock price fell 10 percent, costing shareholders more than $180 million, roughly 60,000 times the value of the original guitar.

BIBLICAL AND HISTORICAL IGNORANCE

Alan Jacobs And Marilynne Robinson’s Faith

My own reflection on this important piece by Alan Jacobs:

For many years, I’ve tried to address the problem through teaching the Bible and theology. I still do so, but I am now convinced that though biblical/theological illiteracy is still a big problem with so-called evangelicals, historical ignorance is equally eating our lunch.