Back in the day, we started school in the fall. Now August is often the first month of the academic year. It is also the beginning of a remarkable journey for those students who enter elementary, middle or high school, or an institution of higher education, for the first time. So it is a good time to reflect on a lifetime of learning.
When I think about education, it brings to mind the motto of the University of California – Fiat Lux – “let there be light” or, in this case, enlightenment. This became the goal of education in the 18th century, the “Age of Reason,” when intellectuals like our Founding Fathers sought answers to their considerable challenges through law, statecraft and science.
Buddhism also strives for enlightenment, but with a difference, embarking on a quest for insight, awakening and understanding the true nature of existence. And, in Genesis, when the God of the Judeo-Christian tradition says, “Let there be light,” the result is daylight and the ability to see clearly what was once hidden in darkness.
With all these lofty goals, it follows that the path of learning would have to be long and continuous. Educators speak of P-20, but why stop there? On the job training is also learning, and so are all the strategies people use to seek and find information. Curiosity is what drives learning, after all.
To me, learning is simply a lot of fun. The Japanese word “omoshiroi” means both interesting and amusing, implying that if one is interested, one is also enjoyably engaged. So may it be for all our students and for our adult audiences, continuing their expeditions into the limitless realms of knowledge.
This blog is part of a blog series, All Good Things. The series, written by Nancy Conner, will run throughout the year to reflect on topics that have been central to our work at Indiana Humanities.