The Outcome is Action

“The educated differ from the uneducated as much as the living differ from the dead.”
Aristotle

Simon Fraser University - Bear Mother by Bill Reid

Simon Fraser University – Bear Mother by Bill Reid

The other day I visited Simon Fraser University, advantageously situated to overlook the mountains that stand guard over the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.  I felt the energy of learning the minute I stepped through the doors and saw students with books and laptops studying in solo, duet, and trio formations. It was exam week; tensions were high, the atmosphere filled with enough brain activity to power the campus streetlights for the coming week.  Somewhere between the pages of a text and the long hours of study resides the hope that education will provide a way to participate within the world.

Participating is contributing. When Hipparchus was inspired to compile a catalogue of the 850 or so stars whose positions were then known, he was contributing to collective wisdom.  As was Claudius Ptolemy when he wrote Almagest!  As was Arete when she wrote forty books and taught one hundred and ten philosophers over the course of her life.

The nature of education, regardless of varying methodologies, has not changed over the centuries.  It is humanity’s way of transferring knowledge and wisdom from one generation to the next, much like a relay race without end. Great thinkers know that the outcome of education is action. Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Learning takes on many appearances; it shifts our thinking, challenges our beliefs and fills us with passion to seek better outcomes for ourselves, our families and our communities, local and global.

“When you know better you do better.” 
Maya Angelou

29 thoughts on “The Outcome is Action

    • I agree wholeheartedly. The best of all learning comes from personal initiative and the unrelenting need to know. Schools and universities are only one way – where I learned the most was in a library, my home away from home.

      “I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don’t have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years.”
      ― Ray Bradbury

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      • most need to be led, but libaries are crucial to a free country. Interesting what will happen as our society moves away from books.

        Maybe style trumps substance then…

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      • A very interesting point – freedom comes from access. I like that connection. Today, I used my Kobo (Canada’s version of the Kindle) to read and realized that society will find a way to sort out all of the messages that comes across our day. We seem to grab learning in bits and bites. The same goes for handwriting. Even at my age, I find that I am losing the flow that comes with cursive writing. We live in interesting times.

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  1. Thanks for another great post. As always, I love all your quotes. I love Maya Angelou. I was lucky to be able to attend her speech at a conference. Admiration, respect, and love, are what I saw and heard from her!

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    • To test the genuineness of education and whether learning has occurred, is in how we treat others, our fellow creatures who walk this world and our environment. When I think on the ancients, they ideas were towards better outcomes for all, not for a elite few.

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  2. The most profound education is that of life, in my opinion. I’ve only completed 2 years of university, but I feel like I’ve learned so much more about the world simply by experiencing it. It’s also important to be able to teach yourself how to do things – learn a language, develop an art form, formulate your own view of the world, etc. Those who spend most of their adult lives in a classroom are missing something.

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    • How right you are!! We have come to think that education is tied within a structure where marks are the embodiment of personal value. We all have unique talents, gifts, creativity and even wisdom that thrives within the world of experience. I especially appreciate Sir Ken Robinson’s thought – “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” We strive for the perfect mark, the perfect learning, the perfect outcome – experience grants us the wisdom to recognize we are so much more than that.

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  3. I don’t fully understand the myth of the Bear Mother (there seem to be several versions on the internet) but I am pleased she is at the university and is featured in your post. For me a complete education includes oral traditions and wisdom and is not confined to subjects that require literacy. And, as you rightly say, learning doesn’t always have to come from academic institutions.

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    • I understand that the Bear Mother Myth is a Haida legend. I love the connection between nature and man, especially the giving of respect to our fellow travelers. I agree wholeheartedly – Oral traditions are the soul of a culture. While I can read a poem, I find that listening has more profound message simply because of the transfer from one person to another. Sitting around a campfire, listening to a storyteller – those moments are engraved in my memory. Ahhhh…

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    • This was extraordinary – a must see for all! I loved Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451! I treasure the Vancouver Public Library!! Thank you for adding so much to the discussion.

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    • Thank you for the video which is excellent! I think Ray Bradbury is my friend. I see me in him….! My sister called me “book-lover” but it is only comparative. I love to learn, not only through reading, but through exploration excited by curiosity. I believe knowledge is power. Ignorance is NOT bliss! We need both formal and informal education, although education does not guarantee success. To me, self-actualization is the ultimate goal in education which is a means but not an end. ok, too much rambling tonight…

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      • I agree wholeheartedly – Ignorance is NOT bliss. Learning is the most exciting adventure. I loved when Ray Bradbury explained how he met his characters, how he reads F.Scott Fitzgerald as he walked across Paris, how he found his first office.

        “Do not stop thinking of life as an adventure. You have no security unless you can live bravely, excitingly, imaginatively; unless you can choose a challenge instead of competence.”
        ― Eleanor Roosevelt, The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt

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  4. Education certainly is very, very important. Although I do agree that the want and need to learn should come from oneself. Personally, I love to learn, and found a lot of inspiration in great teachers – on the other hand, I am one of those persons who cannot bide to be told what to learn. After secondary school it has cost me a great deal to learn more, since with every study afterwards there were courses I had to take which I did not find interesting at all – and when I had to learn for them, I just couldn’t.

    Right now I just love the library too. I find books that can help me and teach me.

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    • Thank you so much for adding to the dialogue. I agree wholeheartedly that the genesis of learning comes from within. I remember those teachers who made the difference in my life. You would enjoy reading Sir Ken Robinson, who said that “Imagination is the source of every form of human achievement. And it’s the one thing that I believe we are systematically jeopardizing in the way we educate our children and ourselves.” He and Plato had a lot in common when it came to this conversation.

      “Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.”
      ― Plato

      Libraries are amazing!

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  5. The power of wisdom! […] the atmosphere filled with enough brain activity to power the campus streetlights for the coming week🙂🙂

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    • If only we could capture and transform the energy of our brains. I have a feeling that we will harness it one day….

      Thank you for stopping by!!! You always make my day!

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  6. I needed this post, I want to go back to the university, and when I saw the title, well this is my answer…I need to take action. I have to say I been lazy and think I to old to go back I just need a couple of classes for my work (I am graphic designer) and they are fun classes because they are art classes yet have not taken any action. Also, they say we use only a fraction of our brain, how sad, we must never stop learning school or in life.

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    • Go for it!!! When I was in my early 20’s I had to drop out of university because my money ran out and I was very afraid of debt. Looking back, it was the best thing that could happen because my life unfolded as it was suppose to…
      But I returned to university in my early 40’s and what an amazing time for me. I had life experience behind me and I was surrounded by remarkable young people ready to take on the world. So keep me posted on your plans! You made my day…

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  7. When I retired years ago, I was given some good advice. Learn new things, learn to play a musical instrument, learn a new language, learn to do a new craft. Where better to do this than in a library. They have everything there– and an excellent place to do research, study and discover new ideas and even relax. And, besides, there is always a coffee shop near by. Just remember, learning is never over.

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    • And what a wonderful piece of advice!!! And I know that you have taken that advice over and over and over again. Life is all that much more exciting, vital and rewarding.

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