I had the opportunity to be inspired by an old friend last week. He's been around the block a few times, and will freely admit he's made some bad decisions over the years. Living with the legacy of our choices is not easy, especially when they can constrain us so firmly.
Yet somewhere along the road, call it coincidence, persistence, serendipity or luck, he met a few people who showed him that just as the world can be made smaller through choice, it can also be made much bigger. In making those expansive choices we are so often choosing to learn, and that is exactly what my friend did. He discovered that like all living things, if you are not growing you are decaying; that for humans, growth ultimately is in the form of accumulating knowledge and understanding.
He is 50 years old and just wrote his GED.
Too many times I have encountered an attitude towards knowledge and learning that would be almost humorous if it wasn't so destructive; you know the caricature mean. Seeking understanding, finding order in chaos and making sense of the world is part of the human condition. We are hard wired to learn. And perhaps taken a step further, we are hard wired to create institutions such as libraries (Consider: Defunct Libraries from Wikipedia) to support or need to learn.
I hope to never ever hear again some one say, as my friend did recently, "I wish I knew how big the world is when I was younger!"
It is too great a tragedy, with today's range of technologies in support of information of knowledge sharing, that anyone should be constrained by not knowing.