A man of learning

I, like many of my peers, considered myself a man of learning.

I, like most of my peers, am reasonably well-educated to degree level and I have a series of professional qualifications that certainly serve to bolster my cv.

After an existing career of ‘doing’, my career now leans more towards ‘teaching’. The majority of my days are spend channelling my French language teacher by standing in front of a class of willing students eager to derive as much information from me as possible, for the large amounts charged by the company for which I work.

On paper, by occupation, and even in my appearance, to a casual viewer I have all the trappings of a man of learning.

Yet in recent months I have begun to question whether I could still rightfully possess this title. A ‘man of teaching’ yes, but apart from work-related manuals and professional journals, when was the last time that I learned anything?

What was the last book I read? Reading is a skill that needs to be practised. It allows us to exercise our minds and expand the limits of our comprehension. It allows us to formulate informed arguments and articulate developing ideas derived from those of others and fused with our own conclusions.

At this moment in my timeline, life is getting in the way of learning….real learning, not just understanding the inner workings of computer software, but understanding the philosophies and science of mankind.

Of course, work is not entirely to blame. I have a preoccupation for light entertainment as a form of relaxation which is sated with BBC drama, SciFi programmes and the Halo series of games on my Xbox Elite.

I find myself in a circular paradox, where I want to read more widely, but the list of books I need to read first is so extensive, that I am paralysed into not reading anything, so the list of books gets longer, and I want to read more widely.

This paradigm has a cascading effect on other areas of my life, as my topics of conversation become limited to what I have seen on tv or experienced in the real and virtual worlds, and as you my readers will bear witness, my writing has become a lot less frequent as I exhaust the topics about which I can converse with authority.

My partner seems to have her reading under control. Every week she seems to finish a book and throw it away.

First of all, the books that I need to read first, I could not throw away. I would need to return them safely to the dust-filled shelves of my library bulging with unread books, to be used as reference material when formulating arguments or clarifying discussion points.

Secondly, where does she find the time to read a book every week? In between reading new manuals, finding out whether Gavin and Stacy will make it, and saving the world from The Covenant, where would I find the time?

Of course I can hear the answer to that question, screaming from the page like an Irish fish-wife, and the sacrifice is required is for my intellectual good. But ‘Gavin and Stacy’….

I should be reading on the bus to and from work, I should be reading on the weekends, I should be reading in hotel rooms, I should be reading….more.

What have you read lately?


~ by jeditopcat on 28 May, 2010.

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