Saturday, January 28, 2017

Wisdom Of The Week

The writer, Shane Parrish, is talking about a famous German philosopher named Arthur Schopenhauer, and summarizes his perspective on reading and learning:
Such, however, is the case with many men of learning: they have read themselves stupid. For to read in every spare moment, and to read constantly, is more paralyzing to the mind than constant manual work, which, at any rate, allows one to follow one’s own thoughts.
Just as a spring, through the continual pressure of a foreign body, at last loses its elasticity, so does the mind if it has another person’s thoughts continually forced upon it. And just as one spoils the stomach by overfeeding and thereby impairs the whole body, so can one overload and choke the mind by giving it too much nourishment
- Arthur Schopenhaeur
The mind can only handle so much information, and you can’t expect to learn without application or reflection. I was approaching learning in the worst way possible: exposing it to so much information and knowledge that I ended up retaining almost nothing.

I thought filling up every second of the day with constant reading would inevitably make me a smart person. I knew that I had to apply the things I learned in my life, but I was content with only knowing. Shane might be able to explain it better:

It’s important to take time to think about what we’re reading and not merely assume the thoughts of the author. We need to digest, synthesize, and organize the thoughts of others if we are to understand. This is the grunt work of thinking. It’s how we acquire wisdom.
This is how we acquire foundational knowledge. The knowledge that allows us to pull forth relevance when reading and bring it to consciousness. Without this foundational knowledge, we are unable to separate the signal from the noise.
- Shane Parrish
- Don’t overdose on knowledge

No comments: