Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back to School


That's not because today's lesson is particularly sexy or profane or anything fun like that. (Sorry to get your hopes up.) Today's lesson is not intended for minors because chances are, if you are a minor, you are already preparing to go back to school, where you will be reminded repeatedly of the value of the education you are about to receive, particularly by the Bursar’s office, bookstore, etc. Today's message is directed less toward active students than to former students, or as we prefer to term them "non-practicing students."

For many people, the end of their formal classroom-based education, be that the completion of 8th grade or the conferment of one's third doctorate, marks the end of their intellectual pursuits. This, the Yummish believe, is a tragic error. More important than learning the Pythagorean Theorem (A2 + B2 = C2 ) or the chief exports of Sweden (IKEA meatballs, Red Wings players, 1970s stag films), is learning how to learn.

During the years of formal education, learning can seem, at times, un-Yummish, particularly if the subject matter is difficult or uninteresting. This process is necessary, however, for expanding the mind, forcing it open to previously unconsidered possibilities. The reward for all of this effort, however, is a well-developed intellectual curiosity, better capable of appreciating the YUM in all of its many forms.

We Yummish feel it is a waste to spend so many years of one's life developing a skill only to let it be lost through neglect. Graduation from formal schooling should not be a retirement party for the mind, but a debutante ball. (Or whatever the male equivalent is. Probably something to do with football.) Learning is a source of joy in the Yummish life. Intellectual pursuits enrich one's life by inspiring yummy feelings of personal achievement and enabling you to share that Yum with others.

It is a common and debilitating mistake to assuming that whatever tickles your intellect is not "intellectual" enough; that the interests of others somehow hold greater value than your own. This is not true. They may be different, but their Yummish essence is no greater. Whether your passion is primitive ethnography or the baking of desserts, the strength of your commitment to the pursuit of greater knowledge is key. There are, after all, myriad diverse paths leading to the YUM; a unique path for every seeker.

Today's Exercise: Read that book you've been meaning to get to. Do the puzzles on the comics page of the newspaper. Write a reader's guide to Gravity's Rainbow. Stretch your intellectual legs.

Eat, Pray, Love. (Wait... No... That's not right...)

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