Noam Chomsky believes that science is a good way to start understanding history and human affairs: “I think studying science is a good way to get into fields like history. The reason is, you learn what an argument means, you learn what evidence is, you learn what makes sense to postulate and when, what’s going to be convincing. You internalize the modes of rational inquiry, which happen to be much more advanced in the sciences than anywhere else. On the other hand, applying relativity theory to history isn’t going to get you anywhere. So it’s a mode of thinking.”
The educator John Dewy said. It is not about what you learn but about how you learn. This is the crux of the matter in much of modern day learning. We are not so much thinking or being educated within the context of human beings, with basic needs that have not changed much since our arrival on the planet. But much more being trained to work within the multitude of divisive influences, that we meet each day in our day to day life, in our social life and in our workplace. As we are mostly trained in the specialities needed to turn the wheels of commerce, in order to find a nich in the machine we can fit into, to survive. We often forget about ourselves, our families our children, our friends, our neighbours. What do we want? What kind of life do we want to live?
These are the questions we want to ask. With so much data to process in the day to day life of an ordinary person, with the multitude of options, diversions, concerns where is the time to process all of this information to draw any perspective of where our lives are going? It is within this melee of conflicting interests the importance of “how we learn” is key. By internalising the modes of rational inquiry we can, as well as find enjoyment in thought, direct ourselves and others towards less harmful and wasteful pursuits and contribute to the educational Common Good, as many generations have done before us.