Hello and welcome back to the autodidactic podcast, episode 1 season 2. If you’re a returning listener Welcome back! If you are new to the podcast then welcome aboard.
This episode I want to just give a brief introduction to the new season and the types of things I’ll be covering. Let me start by quoting the first few lines of a Rudyard Kipling poem.
I KEEP six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
Season one of the podcast was focused primarily on how to study and various methods to use. This season I’d like to explore two of Kipling’s honest serving men, Why and Who. So I’ll do this episode on why being an Autodidactic is a good goal to pursue and the remainder of the season I’ll focus on Who.
Therefore, the season will primarily focus on Who. The reason for this is that I believe if we look at some autodidactics such as Charles Darwin, Benjamin Franklin, Malcolm X, and many others we can try to discover and adopt their methods for learning.
In many cases it is difficult to find any record of the methods which they used for study. Some are relatively easy to find information about, for example Ben Franklin wrote about his methods in his autobiography. Others we’ll have to find through research and contemporary writings.
I would also like to attempt to interview some living autodidactics and try to understand their methods.
But first let’s get into the Why of becoming autodidactic and what I mean when I talk about an autodidactic.
An autodidactic is a person who is a life-long learner and while they might study for to enhance their careers or job prospects when I speak of an autodidactic I’m talking about someone who doesn’t just learn for work purposes. A Uomo Universale an ideal developed in Renaissance Italy which considers humans limitless in capacity for development and that everyone should embrace knowledge and develop their capacities to the full. Exemplified by Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519), whose gifts were in the fields of art, science, music, invention, and writing.
Many of the benefits and reasons why someone should be autodidactic will apply to both autodidactics and anyone who is learning by themselves.
The first two reasons are ones that everyone can relate to, they are time and money. Self learners can save money by not enrolling in formal courses and time as well. The reason a self learner can save time is they focus on what they don’t know and can skip information they already know. While in a classroom environment you would have to sit while the lecturer brings others up to speed with things you already know.
Self-learning is neither location constrained nor time-bound. With proper planning and tools you can do your study anywhere and at any time.
Another often over looked advantage is tangents. Self-learners are allowed to go off on a tangent and then return later, since they have no constraints. For example, while studying computer science you might spark and interest in basic electrical systems and spend a few months on a tangent where you learn more about electrical systems and maths related to electricity before returning to your computer studies.
When you contrasts this with formal education where you have to attend the classes or miss out, the obvious benefits of self-learning becomes apparent.
Then there are the emotional benefits. A sense of accomplishment and pride. It will also make you happier according to Vanessa King, a positive psychology expert. Scientific research from the 1990s shows, a challenged, stimulated brain may well be the key to a vibrant later life. These studies have also shown a link to learning and the delay or negation of mental and physical ailments and diseases.
The one thing in life which is guaranteed is change. Change is the only constant around us, and in modern society the pace of change continues to increase. Many people believe that the economy of the future will require people who can continue to learn new skills and continue to adapt. This is because many jobs are already being automated out of existence. Lifelong learning enables us to keep up with society’s changes – especially the technological ones.
An autodidactic with the notion of Uomo Universale will pick topics and skills to learn outside of the work they do. A relentless focus on building a single skill is not, for most people, the best formula for leading a happy life.
So these are some benefits for becoming autodidactic. Thanks for listening, and I hope you’ve enjoyed the podcast. I’m always interested in hearing what you’d like me to discuss. So as always you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can leave a comment on the website: https://autodidactic.info