I’m a big fan of learning new things, because I believe that the more we learn the more educated our decisions become, and the more we understand how the world works, and how we work inside of the world.
Recently, I read Aereopagitica, by John Milton. The main argument in that essay is that books should not be influenced or monitored by anyone. No one should stand at the metaphorical door of publication and say, “this book is too dirty, this book will put negative ideas in people’s heads, this book will make people question things, this book is poorly written, this book presents perverse ideas or thoughts that aren’t socially acceptable.”
The argument is that the more things we experience, the more we can form our own opinions. I’ve also been reading Paradise Lost by Milton (a loooot of Milton lately), which is an epic poem about the fall of Satan and the subsequent fall of man. One of the main ideas presented in Paradise Lost is the idea of free will, the necessity for mankind to have the ability to stray from a “good” path in life, because this proves his loyalty to God. In the poem, God struggles with mankind’s freedom, because it never assures he will return to a path of “goodness.”
So why am I telling you this? Well, first of all, it’s interesting to think about, especially if you’ve ever read parts of Paradise Lost. Second, it relates to our own lives because a wealth of knowledge allows us to live life more fully. The more we understand about an idea opposing our own, the more educated our decisions and opinions will be.
I think a goal of everyone’s life should be to continue to learn. The more you learn, the more the world really makes sense to you, and the more you can make sense of your life and how to live it. It affects your success as well: the more you learn about your career or your industry or your job duties, the more of an asset you will be to your company and to yourself. The accumulation of knowledge makes all things clearer.
For this reason, keep an open mind. Learn about things you never thought to learn about. Learn about things that are so contradictory to what you believe, because then you can either reassure your prior convictions, or you can find something to replace them that better suits you and your life.