What learning is

Today's quote is from TED cofounder Richard Saul Wurman, which I heard on the Design Matters podcast.

Learning is remembering what you’re interested in.

It's not something I agree with fully. There are things you need to learn that you're not interested in. For instance, that a hot plate burns. Or that crossing the street safely is a necessity (show me a kid who's keen to learn that one). Geometry, Shakespeare, grammar, history... these are all topics we learn about, with various degrees of interest.

There are also things that interest us mightily for a while, and we learn everything we can about it. Then one day we look back and wonder where all that information went. Take the Rubik's cube. I was a champ at this back in the 1980s. I could solve it inside of one minute, no problem. I recently got one for my kids and it sits there, unsolved. Even with the help of YouTube tutorials I can't remember how to solve it. I'm still interested in doing it, though not as maniacally as I was 30 years ago. Yet I can't possibly remember...

But Mr Wurman has built a knowledge-spreading empire more or less on that idea, and that makes me wonder what he sees that I'm missing. It could be a far bit, so I'll ponder that one some more...

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