The exponential nature of learning.

I wrote this about 10 years ago.  It now sounds a little naive and VASTLY oversimplifies the field of conciousness & learning, but I think the core idea still stands.


As your current level of knowledge increases, your current perception of how much there is to know accelerates faster then you can keep up with. Everytime you learn something new, you are opening another ‘door’ to a room thats full of other doors. Another useful analogy is the folder structure of your computers hard disk. Every folder you click on opens up several other folders, each with their own set of folders, and so on and so forth. Even with only 2 folders within each folder, the numbers start to get mind boggling after a very short while. Obviously within a computer there is a theoretical (if not practical) limit to the level you can go to, but with human understanding, this is virtually limitless.
I have heard on occasion, when talk of ‘lottery wins’ comes into conversation, something that disturbs me. Its the ‘imagine winning the lottery, you wouldn’t know what to do with the money. You’d get bored.’ What? Are they fucking serious? There is an UNIMAGINEABLE amount of stuff to do, and learn. A lottery win to me wouldnt mean just going on expensive holidays and buying flash cars (although don’t get me wrong, i would splash out), it would free up my time that i usually spent working to actually learn something. Check that out! What a radical idea! What percentage of knowledge do you possess compared to how much there is to know? The number is so small its frightening. Here’s an idea <leads person to window>. ‘Look! See that out there? That’s the WORLD my friend! Yes, i know you normally view it through the 28″ glass tube you got sitting in the corner of the room, or even the really big plasma screen that you’re so proud of (and here’s a newsflash, the content remains the same NO MATTER how big the screen is. You’re still living life second-hand brother). Go check it out!’
Why are most of us content to remain, knowledge-wise, in exactly the same place? Why, at the age of 20-something, do we think that we know all we need to know. Childhood, and schooldays, best days of your life? So why the fuck have you stopped acting and learning like a child? Cos you’re grown up? What exactly does that mean? ‘Oh, i’m an adult now, don’t need to learn anything more.’ Why the fuck not? If thats the case, i’m gonna remain a child for the rest of my life thanks.
Its time for you to accept that you are NOT as good as you could be. There is always room for improvement. In fight club, Brad Pitt’s character Tyler Durden makes the comment ‘self improvement is masturbation’. Right. I love that too. (Incidently, the part of the film where he takes that gas station clerk – raymond k. hessle, is it? – outside and puts a gun to his head is one of the best moments in film EVER. I think we could all do with that type of gun to our heads from time to time). We are all walking around and asleep at the same time and i think we need a wake up call. Trouble is, it takes work and effort and most of the time we dont even realise how little we know. This rant, i hope, will give you a push in the right direction.