I’m not one for reading the “classics.” Oh, most are well and good, I suppose, but only a few have I found that I actually enjoyed, or, at the very least, appreciates. Yet, it seems that I have a certain Joseph Conrad, of Heart of Darkness fame, to thank for my current mode of thinking.
I remember the day in question rather clearly–which is remarkable, considering I remember what I read far more easily than what I experience. My English class had, for some now-forgotten reason, moved temporarily to my trig classroom. The class was on British literature, and we were reading Heart of Darkness, which our teacher was trying to tell us is a masterpiece–every word of this tiny novel (far too short to pass muster today!) was supposedly chosen very carefully by Mr. Conrad.
I don’t know, or don’t remember, what exactly set me off. Perhaps it was this claim that gave me pause and told me that it meant everything–absolutely everything–can be challenged, can be questioned.
Perhaps it was simply the change of scenery: studying English in a math classroom.
Perhaps I was simply having a bad day.
Whatever it was, it set me off.
I. Challenged. The. Teacher.
Now, I like rules. I like knowing where I stand, and what I can do. I like structure. And until that day, rules and structure meant taking what was taught and regurgitating it on command.
I sat in class arguing with her about the merits of the novel. I cannot now remember my arguments precisely–and very likely I was completely wrong–but it set off a chain reaction that continues to this day, a disease that has gotten worse by the year.
Two years after that class, a professor in college introduced me to blogs, which opened up a whole new world of inquiry for me.
The result? I designed my own major, not satisfied with limiting my inquires to one field of study. I subscribe to hundreds of blogs, enabling me to hold my own in almost any conversation about current events, new technologies, or recent controversies. I have learned not to let my gut reaction be my only reaction, seeking out other points of views for more understanding.
I live to question and learn. How about you?