In the ever-changing digital era, autodidacticism is the best practice anyone could ever engage in regardless of their educational background.
According to Wikipedia, “an autodidact is an individual who chooses the subject they will study, their studying material and the studying rhythm and time. An autodidact may or may not have formal education, and their study may be either a complement or an alternative to it. Many notable contributions have been made by autodidacts. Influential autodidacts include Leonardo da Vinci, Goethe, Charles Darwin, Thomas Edison, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Steven Spielberg and Srinivasa Ramanujan”.
With so many perspectives and so much uncertainty, self-education is by all means the most effective method to soothe intellectual dualities, create a future in the multidisciplinary research scene; and to keep an open, fresh mentality. Yet, it truly requires dedication, self-motivation, and the wise use of time and resources.“The Internet has provided us with unprecedented access to information, but it hasn’t changed what we do with it once it’s made it into our heads. This is because the Internet doesn’t (yet) know how to think. We still have to do it for ourselves, and we do it the old-fashioned way.” (Brockman, 2011)
It all begins with curiosity. A person may encounter one of those life mysteries that create deep questions, and open gateways of consciousness; ultimately resulting in the so called journey one must go through to self-actualise and embark upon the field of study that is felt as an intellectual calling. As Martin Weller described it in his book The Digital Scholar (2011), “any time you learn anything your brain is ‘rewired’ at a synaptic level.” This is probably why Thomas Hobbes wrote in his work Leviathan (1668) “Scientia potentia est”, which translates to English as “knowledge is power”.
Autodidacticism should be seen as a means to competently become an expert on individual, chosen passions. Laziness could result in bias or misinformation. The Internet has become a fountain of thoughts, opinions, and facts. It can be used to make significant progress, or it can be used to feed from confirmation bias. In other words, it is a double-edge sword through which beliefs can be challenged, or reinforced.
Finally, adding philosophical constructivism to autodidacticism allows the exploration of multiple epistemological perspectives by adding meaning to individual experiences and how these shape the rationality of ideas . This way, every person can contribute to the creation of the diverse global reality we live in by first understanding their own personal reality, which is made up of choices, circumstances, and resources; and by analysing their belief systems. Patrick Snow stated in his book The Affluent Entrepreneur (2011) “The famous author and philosopher Jim Rohn dedicated his entire life to preaching his message that formal education will make you a living, but self-education will make you a fortune”
My question to you today is: what is a revolution without knowledge?
- Wikipedia: Autodidacticism
- Martin Weller (2011): The Digital Scholar: How Technology is Changing Academic Practice.
- Wikipedia: Scientia Potentia Est
- John Brockman (2011): Is the Internet changing the way you think?
- Patrick Snow (2011): The Affluent Entrepreneur
- Wikipedia: Constructivism