Hey! Get an Intellectual Hobby
My experience leads me to conclude that there is a world of difference in picking up a fragment of knowledge here and there versus seeking knowledge for an answer to a question of significance. There is a world of difference between taking a stroll in the woods on occasion versus climbing a mountain because you wish to understand what climbing a mountain is about or perhaps you want to understand what it means to accomplish a feat of significance only because you want it and not because there is ‘money in it’.
I think that every adult needs to experience the act of intellectual understanding; an act that Carl Sagan describes as “Understanding is a kind of ecstasy.”
This quotation of Carl Rogers might illuminate my meaning:
I want to talk about learning. But not the lifeless, sterile, futile, quickly forgotten stuff that is crammed in to the mind of the poor helpless individual tied into his seat by ironclad bonds of conformity! I am talking about LEARNING - the insatiable curiosity that drives the adolescent boy to absorb everything he can see or hear or read about gasoline engines in order to improve the efficiency and speed of his 'cruiser'. I am talking about the student who says, "I am discovering, drawing in from the outside, and making that which is drawn in a real part of me." I am talking about any learning in which the experience of the learner progresses along this line: "No, no, that's not what I want"; "Wait! This is closer to what I am interested in, what I need"; "Ah, here it is! Now I'm grasping and comprehending what I need and what I want to know!"
When we undertake such a journey of discovery we need reliable sources of information. We need information that we can build a strong foundation for understanding. Where do we find such reliable information? We find it in the library or through Google on the Internet or combinations thereof.
I have a ‘Friends of the Library’ card from a college near me. This card allows me, for a yearly fee of $25, to borrow any book in that gigantic library. Experts in every domain of knowledge have written books just especially for laypersons like you and I.
I often recommend to others that they get an intellectual hobby. The following is the essence of my message.
Hobbies are ways in which many individuals express their individuality. Those matters that excite an individual’s interest and curiosity are those very things that allow the individual to acquire self-understanding and understanding of the world. Interests define individuality and help to provide meaning to life. We all look for some ideology, hobby, philosophy or religion to provide meaning to life.
Not many of us have discovered our full potentialities or have fully explored in depth those we have discovered. Self-development and self-expression are relatively new ideas in human history. The arts are one means for this self-expression. The artist may find drawing or constructing sculptures as a means for self-discovery. The self-learner may find essay writing of equal importance.
I recommend that each person who does not presently have some similar type of hobby develop the hobby of an intellectual life. We could add to our regular routine the development of an invigorating intellectual life wherein we sought disinterested knowledge; knowledge that is not for the purpose of some immediate need but something that stirs our curiosity, which we seek to understand for the simple reason that we feel a need to understand a particular domain of knowledge.