Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Where do we learn things?

Where do we learn things? Where does it come from? Do some of us just have intrinsic knowledge that allows us to live day to day intelligently? That can't be the answer, because the things I'm thinking of are so not instinctive that there's no possible way that it could be wired into us as humans. What about the people who don't know things? Should I hold it against them, that they can't learn the proper forms of there/their/they're, or that they don't know how to cite a book (or a website either, they just think they do, but is it really their fault?), or that they don't know the Dewey Decimal system or how to cook or how to adapt? I'm sure that there are plenty of things I don't know or don't know how to do, and people don't seem to hold it against me too much, but I also feel like I catch onto things a little quicker than others and perhaps that is what frustrates me so.

The thing is, I don't remember not knowing a lot of these things. Certain websites, for instance; the library system, how to read a map. How to read. I don't recall ever learning these things, although I know that I must have at some point; I know that I didn't have anyone there holding my hand for me and walking me through, teaching me. So how did I ever get by? I don't ask this facetiously; I quite honestly can't remember. I can't remember being scared my first year at school, being nervous or lost or naive (although I know how nervous I can get, and what that feels like, I simply can't recall feeling that way my first years of college), wandering how on Earth am I going to find that class when I don't know how to read a map?!

I think I'm being unfair. I must be. How would the world possibly get by if everyone was as impatient with the younger generation as I am? It simply wouldn't do. On the other hand, I can't be the only one who feels an intense frustration and dissatisfaction with those younger than myself, especially taking into account what I knew when I was their age. "Their age." I sound so old. At 21 I have become old and cynical, immediately condemning anyone who is more than a year or two younger than I. "Stupid teenagers," I think. "Stupid teenage freshmen with their Silly Bands and their MTVU and their sexting and get off my lawn ya damn kids!" I think it's probably people like me who are making this world the intolerable, closed-minded place that it is becoming.

But I digress. Where do we learn things, and who is to blame for those who don't know them?