“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.” ~Jiddu Krishnamurti
The old adage “the more I learn, the less I know” articulates how many of us feel as we continue to learn about the world within and around us. It is tantamount to accepting the premise of another adage: “I often don’t even know what I don’t know.” In an essay entitled, The Big Test, David Brooks coins a term that highlights these adages and may capture the the spirit associated with an “inquisitive in life” approach to our learning: epistemological modesty. Brooks uses the term in reference to the writings associated with important historical philosophers and their own sense of epistemological modesty:
“They knew how little we can know. They understood that we are strangers to ourselves and society is an immeasurably complex organism.”
This concept can naturally be extended beyond ourselves and our society to the world and universe beyond us. It therefore seems appropriate for an individual to approach this branch of philosophy called epistemology – the theory of knowing that investigates the origins, nature, and limits of human knowledge – with at least some degree of modesty.
While the “immeasurable complexity” associated with everything to learn can feel overwhelming, this is not the point. When considering our own learning and the role of schools, what is important is the degree to which a lifelong love of learning is instilled in students and modeled in our communities. Through an “inquisitive in life” approach to learning, it is hoped that our students will learn enough about the world around them to be in a position to identify their individual passions, which will further focus their lifelong learning.
There is indeed no end to education and the process of learning and it is this process that can enrich our lives in immeasurable ways.
Featured image: cc licensed (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) flickr photo by Raymond Brysonhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/f-oxymoron/9647972522
Profile: I am currently working as the Head of School at the American School of Brasilia and publish a blog at www.barrydequanne.com (Twitter: @dequanne)