So learning isn’t quite what we teach inmates inside the high-security prisons called schools. In biology, learning is something that, through the filter of intergenerational selection, gets imprinted at the cellular level – skin in the game, I insist, is more filter that deterrence Evolution can only happen if risk of extinction is present.*
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”**
Photosynthesis is how trees turn light and carbon dioxide and water into food. They do it because they’re hungry.
Learning is our photosynthetic process of taking information and knowledge and turning it into understanding, which, as Nassim Taleb reminds us in his inimitable way, involves living it.
The next time you’re feeling hungry, it may not be for food – or clothing, shelter or entertainment – but for understanding, to do something new, different, meaningful.