23. Knowledge

Learning is not compulsory¦neither is survival.

        — W. Edwards Deming

A compelling desire to know should gild the pursuit of knowledge and make the effort a pleasure. And if, according to Aristotle, it is by his very nature that man desires to know, then what limits his pursuit?


Compared to most other times in history, we Americans live in great prosperity. And though we don’t often recognize the fact, it truly is a luxury to have time to relax, to enjoy life and to have fun. But our common tendency is to use all of this precious time for leisure, filling it completely with activities and noise that squander our attention.


For a moment, think of what your life would be like if you used your leisure-time to learn, to pursue knowledge. Maybe you think that such an effort would turn you into a boring person, putting you out of sync and out of touch with your friends. Or maybe you think that such a practice would give you no life at all, and just the thought of it seems terribly dull. Such is the pleasure of learning lost, lost to the wind of distraction.


Day 23 Guide


Give yourself a good book for Christmas this year. Consider it a challenge to finish it in ten days. Make a serious effort to use your “pockets of time” to read. The key here is to get yourself out of sync with the world and back in sync with your nature as a learner and knower.


© 2004, Levi Hill

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