Sunday, June 15, 2014

Teaching Old Engineers New Tricks

From the Financial Times yesterday in Harry Eyres The Slow Lane column - Lessons in the key of life:

"Learning later in life is hard.  There are a number of reasons for this but the most obvious is that late learning always involves unlearning, freeing oneself from the bad habits of decades.  Bad habits become ingrained, and feel like part of one'e being.

A second reason is even more embarrassing: in middle life one may have acquired a certain weight of self-importance, and discovering the depths of one's ignorance or incompetence is even more humiliating that it is for a child.

But late learning can also be especially satisfying.  The physical apparatus may have dulled but the meaning has become clearer.  Life is not just a linear journey but a constant circling and returning upon itself, so that eventually, as TS Eliot put it in "Little Gidding", we may "arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time."

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