Know Thyself*

“The Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living” Socrates

*This is the name of my class on, a world-wide site that offers free college courses online. I’m keeping my head above water, even though it’s been many years since my two terms of college as a teenager.

In the meantime I have been uneducated about early philosophers.  Oh sure, I knew that Plato and Socrates were ancient Greeks. I had heard of Descartes. I could not have, however, connected any of them to much other than the above quote. And, as we all know, I do not lack in self-examination. As usual, my knowledge is general rather than specific.

The subject matter is fascinating. Even more interesting to me is what I have learned about who I am and and, once again, accepting myself as I am. We haven’t covered that in the course. It’s HOW I am learning that has taught me the lessons so far.

I’ve taken enough education courses to know that I am very capable of learning. Most of these were related to specific facts, however, having to do with my career. I had forgotten that my “big picture” mentality is not conducive to learning in a linear fashion when the subject matter is so thought provoking. My early notes on lectures had much more to do with the wanderings of my own mind than those of Socrates or Descartes.

When I was faced with “Study Questions” and a “Weekly Quiz” it brought me up short. I have committed to learning in an academic environment. If I am to succeed in this, I must learn what the professor wants to teach me. 

My commitment is important to me. Not because I am working toward credit or even the Certificate of Completion; but because I want to have this knowledge.

Coursera makes it easy to learn. In this class, over 70,000 of us can listen to the lectures as many times as necessary. We can leave the quiz hanging in the ether and go back to source materials and search for answers…for ourselves and for the test.

And so I realize once again in life that I can do things in my own way. AND, I can learn even more when I push myself to go down unfamiliar roads. My mind is capable of taking me wherever I want to go. As long as my heart is in it.

Life Student

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Filed under More Teachers, Quotations, Self-examination

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