This semester I’m working at the Physics and Astronomy department of my university. Working in a university department, I get to work with many professors and people who have at least a Master’s degree, most have their Ph.Ds.

あの思考の深さと早さ、知識と知恵の広さ。当たり前っちゃああたり前なんだろうけど、教授なんだし。でも一緒にいるとついつい自分と比べてしまう。どこかですごい人たちだと分かっていても、やっぱりすごいな~と思う。自分はいつになれば追いつくのだろうと・・・

It’s not just the profs either. It’s everybody who knows what they’re doing. It may not show unless they know how to relay how much they know but experts are awesome. And almost everybody is an expert in something. Relative to yourself of course.

これだけの知恵と知識に囲まれた世界に生きているんだからちょっと回りに気をつけたら信じられないほど学べると思う。以下三つが揃えば何でも学べるような気がする。

  • 好奇心

Wanting to learn is the first step I suppose. If you don’t want to know how or why, forcing you to learn isn’t the best way to go about it. On the other hand, if one is curious enough and goes looking for the reasons behind what is, then there’s a whole world waiting out there. Just don’t become the cat in the common saying “curiosity killed the cat”. かわいそうな猫さん・・・

  • 観察力

So now one wants to learn, but can you see the world of stuff sitting right in front of you? Just watching people going about their daily lives you can learn a whole lot, if you notice what there is to learn. It’s all a question of whether you’re observant enough to see what they have to offer. You can learn a different world if you talk to the person and listen enough. In fact, you don’t even need to talk to them. Just listen. They’re speaking their thoughts, and unless you’re the same person you don’t know these thoughts. Even when you are the same person, just listening to your own thoughts can be very rewarding. So can watching yourself go about daily life. You’re with yourself 24/7, why not learn from yourself? 「人の振り見て我が振り直せ」もあるが出きるのならば「自分の振り見て我が振り直せ」だな。それに「直せ』ならぬ「磨け」と言うべきかな。

  • 理解力

So, now that you’ve seen it, can you learn it? Learning doesn’t entail knowing it for an exam and then forgetting about it because you’ll never need it again forever afterwards. If you understand something, you shouldn’t need to remember the formula that helped you pass the exam. If you understand what was presented to you, you should be able to reconstruct it at any time with the little bits of knowledge floating around that mind of yours. After that, it becomes a question of how well you understand it. If the reconstruction isn’t perfect, you don’t understand it perfectly. As such, almost every single reconstruction will be imperfect. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Genetic replication was imperfect, that’s why we have the variety of life we do today. Each replication should teach you something. It doesn’t matter (most of the time) whether that thing you were taught by the replication put you closer or further away from the original. You learned something. As long as it brings you towards an optimal solution it’s a good thing. What is optimal? Well, let’s just say everything is relative.

これらを全部ひっくるめて学習能力とでもよぶんだろうな。でもこの学習能力ってやつは一種類じゃないと思う。ほら、学校ではバカでも世渡り上手なやつとかテストで百点取るが仕事のできないやつとか色々いるじゃん。できればスポンジ、いや、ブラックホールのように何でも吸い込めるようになりたいものだがそうも行かないんだな。以上三ヶ条を守ってできるだけ回りから吸収する努力をしよう、それが賢い生き方な気がするから。