Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Learning Philosophy: Metaphors

Recently I've started to recognize patterns in how I go about learning things and making sense of the world. Hopefully articulating such patterns will make future posts be easier to understand.

When explaining something to someone, or trying to understand something myself, my preferred tool of explanation is the metaphor. Unless I can find a somewhat fitting metaphor to describe something, I find that I don't understand that particular subject well enough.

So as I continue to post about various concepts, I will use many metaphors. If they seem confusing, please know that I'm not trying to complicate things needlessly, it's just the way I make sense of everything. I've given up trying to fight against it; I live in a metaphor world.

Looking at things this way has made otherwise boring things seem much more interesting. For example, I don't have enough interest to play the black hole of time known as "World of Warcraft," but when I heard about how the game itself works, it became much more fascinating. For example, sometimes a group of players will attack a powerful boss with an arrow or gun, causing it to chase after the attacking player. The player then runs away from the boss, but would attack it again with another arrow/bullet to ensure that the boss would keep chasing the player. The player keeps this up until the boss is dragged all the way to a major city, killing many players. This is called "kiting" by people that play MMOs.

Even though I'm not going to play an MMO any time soon, "kiting" could easily be a metaphor for something else I encounter in the future. In the same way, Nascar, Noodling or Hannah Montana might not seem relevant to my life at all, but learning certain details about those subjects could serve as a metaphor for something in the future. One mustn't forget, though, that learning about real things (History, science, math, etc.) is much more beneficial than trudging through the glut of entertainment available to those in developed countries.

The point is this: Don't dismiss quickly. Anything could be relevant.

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