Knowledge comes from inspiration - one bit at a time

The original idea for Inspiration Bit was to share with readers not only what inspires me but also what I’m fascinated to be learning about while surfing the Web, reading other blogs, working. The motto of this blog is “Knowledge comes from inspiration – one bit at a time”.

But that doesn’t mean that we only learn things that inspire us. Of course, this is probably the most gratifying learning experience that we get, when we dive into and study something that interests and captivates us. However, sometimes we do learn out of necessity. But then the question is can we enjoy learning things that we are forced to or must learn as much as the other more inspirational ones?

Occasionally, we do take pleasure in learning something we never thought would interest us, when we find obligations to be quite delightful.

For instance, I was very skeptical about blogging for many years, failing to recognize its potential, thinking about it only in terms of some kind of online diaries, and wondering why would I want to write about my daily life for everyone to read, and who would actually be reading it. Well, now it’s a very different story. It’s one of those things that I was wrong about and very glad to having my thinking box widened.

Being a mother was always at the bottom of my list for Goals In This Life. Ha, you should see me now – I couldn’t wait to come back home to my little daughter from my recent business trip to New York, leaving the city, with all its places to see, on the same day I finished my work there.

I constantly find myself learning new things – at work, in life, from books, from blogs/sites. Sometimes I get tired of learning, pondering why do I always have to learn something, will it ever end, would it be possible to one day just use the knowledge that I’ve already acquired in this life without having to learn anything else for at least awhile? But more often I can’t wait to find time for learning all those numerous things that I want to know more about.

I wonder why do we learn? Do we learn because it comes with our survival instinct? We have to learn to survive in this world driven by the insane competition in almost every aspect of our lives? Or do we learn because we simply must feed our brains with a daily knowledge of something new, otherwise our brains will die from the idle starvation?

Why do you learn? What are you leaning about today? What do you want to learn about tomorrow? Share with me your thoughts, let’s inspire each other with the knowledge that each of us has.

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Comment Bits

14 Insightful Bits in response to “Why Do We Learn And What?”

  1. I think the drive to learn is innate. Yes, I know that some people are demotivated by formal learning at school, and give up the attempt to learn … but look at small children, who learn so many things so incredibly fast during their early years, and who are so desperate to learn new things that they drive us mad with the ‘why?’ and ‘how?’ questions. Where does that curiosity come from and where does it go?

    I suspect that the education system doesn’t do enough to support this drive to learn. I don’t know what the answer is, except that everyone is keen to learn something that interests them, so perhaps the trick is to offer a wide enough range of things that something will grab their attention …

    I love to learn – over the last few years I’ve felt that things are changing so fast that I’m learning something new every day. But isn’t that what makes life interesting?

  2. I love learning new things. I learn because… huh. I never really thought about it! I learn because I am facinated by things and I want to know how they work and why they work. I’m currently interested in learning more about social media marketing, using Facebook for business and the explosion of new media. I read Chris G and Chris Brogan to learn about these things. I’m not sure what I want to learn about tomorrow. Maybe some other comments will inspire me!

    Oh, and I agree with Lucy! Formal education squelches our enthusiasm to learn.

  3. A very philosophical post.
    Why do we learn? I’m not sure, really. I think it might have something to do Lucy’s “innate drive”, but I’m not convinced (either way).
    perhaps the learning is simply a by-product of something else. Perhaps we don’t intend to learn; perhaps we learn most of what we learn out of necessity. I’ll need to give this one some more thought. It’s a thought-provoking question, indeed. We need a philosopher in here. What was the name of that smart young philosopher chap who used to visit my blog. I’ll track him down, and send him here.

    I’ll be back with more thoughts…I hope. I guess I have some more learning to do…

  4. Vivien

    Lucy, You’re so right about the children. I think we’re born curious, as well as with the instinct to imitate others. As I watch my growing 2.5 year old daughter, I’m constantly amazed by her speed of learning and how much she can say even with her limited (but ever expanding) vocabulary. Her little brain is like a sponge, soaking up everything that she hears, sees, feels. What happens with that curiousity and the drive to learn when we grow up – that’s what I’d like to find. I guess we become spoiled, choosy, plus the fact that our aged brain is not as flexible and expansive as the one in children doesn’t help much either.

    Lauren, good luck with your studies of social marketing. Perhaps later you could write a guest post here about the things you’ve learned (unless you want to share them on your blog;-)
    It is sad indeed that the formal education fails to nurture all those traits we’re born with.

    John, what happened to your passion in Philosophy, and all those Nietzsche books you’ve read in past? :-) What did old Nietzsche have to say about our learning reasons?

  5. I learn out of curiosity. Many times, it’s done only for the sake of the learning process, I’m not seeking to apply the knowledge. When the appropriate opportunity comes, the knowledge is there, in my head, so I can use it. Some years ago, when I started learning programming languages, I never thought I might use those skills some day. Now I’m happy I have that basis to further build on, although there are days when I honestly hate the “unexpected argument on line 33″.

  6. Hi, haven’t been here for a while…quite busy lately.
    So, a short answer to your question: Why do you learn?
    To be exact, I personally do not learn for specific purposes, I read when I want to. I read books on photoshooting techniques because I want to take better photos.
    I read fictions because I have seen their TV drama or whatsoever adaptations which interested me.

    What are you leaning about today?

    What do you want to learn about tomorrow?

  7. This sentence got me to thinking “Sometimes I get tired of learning, pondering why do I always have to learn something, will it ever end, would it be possible to one day just use the knowledge that I’ve already acquired in this life without having to learn anything else for at least awhile?”

    I tried to imagine myself somewhere in the future without a thing to learn. I couldn’t do it. I just can’t imagine any time where I am not trying to process or grasp something. It doesn’t matter if it baseball strategy, copywriting, cooking or web building I think I will always be acquiring knowledge. I don’t know how well I will master and be able to utilize the things I work on but I will always be moving like a stream instead of still like a frozen pond.

    Now if I could only make the physical side of me constantly in motion maybe I could lose some weight.

  8. Vivien

    Simonne, you’re really something – you’re actually learning things “in advance”?! WoW. No wonder you’re such an erudite.

    Hi Kriz, glad to have you back, and thanks for taking time to answer my questions.
    You said you learn when you want to, but wouldn’t that form the actual purpose for you? In your case, don’t you have a specific purpose of taking better photos?
    You do take some amazing photos, so good luck to you in your photoshooting endeavour.

  9. Vivien

    Joey, you posted your comment here while I was writing mine :-)
    Oh, I too can’t imagine the future when I won’t have some new things to learn. What I was trying to say there, is that sometimes it feels like my head is going to explode from all the things that I process on a daily basis, that’s why I’m wishing for just a short break even though I know that it will never happen ;-)

  10. On one level, I personally think the human mind, more often than not, interprets things in terms of it’s human existence; hence the emphasis on metaphor in the human mind. More often than not, I find that while I am learning about something, on a certain level my mind is applying a sort of self-referential twist on what I am reading, and on another level it is actually deducing the information as pertaining to whatever it really pertains to (as opposed to just it’s narcissistic self;) Personally, many times I feel the mind seeks learning as a way of having those self-referential opportunities in order to mend and weave itself into a coherent whole, representative of it’s human existence. I’m a really introverted person though so eh this definitely holds true in my lil myopia, how about yours?

    And yea on a more outward-facing level I think the mind just needs something to chew on! Anyone who has gone a couple weeks through intellectual doldrums surely knows the ache of having too-little to think about…or maybe not?

  11. Thanks Vivien! I look back at my comment and find it to be a bit impolite–Apology for that.
    Too tired because of the increased workload – both in office and my photo selection – still quite a few to work on ~~
    Well, I don’t really have any concrete idea who I want to be, I sort of just come along the way. I am in photography by sheer coincidence and if there must be a goal in my photoshooting, I hope to make the most of my current gear to take better photo each time.
    Will try to be around more often :)

  12. Vivien

    Thanks for your thoughts, Brent. I’m far from being an introvert, although I’m not an extrovert either. I don’t usually learn to prove something to others. I learn because I like the actual learning process – it’s like traveling through the debris of possible unknowns, and discovering what my mind is capable of.

    Kriz, no worries at all. I didn’t find your comment impolite, just wanted to clarify the points you’ve made there. One of the things I’m learning and still want to learn is like you, how to take better photos. So I completely relate to what you say.

  13. I think we learn because we are by default curious creatures. We all want to know why, regardless if we realize it or not. Formal education seems to focus on cold facts and less on applicable knowledge. Perhaps this is why so many people, myself included, get burned out on school.

  14. Vivien

    Joseph, for some reason your comment was flagged as a spam by Akismet. I’m glad I was able to notice and recover it.
    Yes, i do agree with you, that we’re curious creatures; some of us are more curious than others, and some of us are curious about certain things while other are curious about certain other things ;-)

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Hi, I'm Vivien. Thanks for visiting my Inspiration Bit. I often find myself scouring the internet looking for either answers to many questions I have or websites that inspire me, sites that I can learn from. On what topics you might ask — any topics that interest me, anything from web design to typography and art, from blogging to entrepreneurship, from programming to open source.
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When I'm not blogging, I design web sites, teach, play with my daughter and try to balance family, work, friends and a somewhat active social life on