Independent learning suggests ideas such as “self-taught,” or “autodidact.” These imply that independence means working solo. But that’s just not how it happens. People don’t learn in isolation. When I talk about independent learners, I don’t mean people learning alone. I’m talking about learning that happens independent of schools.
Anyone who really wants to learn without school has to find other people to learn with and from. That’s the open secret of learning outside of school. It’s a social act. Learning is something we do together.
Independent learners are interdependent learners.
True fact: I’ve learned far more from self-education than I have in school. Our educational system just doesn’t work for some people but that shouldn’t kill our desire to learn. It’s just a matter of finding like-minded people who have a curiosity for everything.
By now we’ve been trained to record only those behaviors that reflect well on ourselves, lest our employers interpret our cocktail-crushing prowess the wrong way. But Facebook’s privacy settings are clumsy and easy to circumvent. Elsewhere, blog posts, life-tracking data, consumer preferences, and check-in beacons can just as easily be ripped from their context and misdirected to an unintended audience – and meanwhile, the social networks, publishing platforms and shopping hubs just keep multiplying. For those young people interested in running for office, this poses considerable danger.
Contrary to the language and ethos of popular social networking sites, our identities are not fixed and singular. Our “authentic selves” or “essential attributes” cannot be articulated on a single profile like a Pokémon card. Thinkers have long disputed the idea of a static identity, since such a notion would ignore how we associate in different contexts, the way our speech changes depending on our speaking partner, how varied environments shape our growth, and all the ways in which we experiment and imagine, pretend and explore.
Individuals whose life stories buck standard social scripts—immigrants, LGBT youth and ethnic minorities—are more aware of this than most. Members of these groups often navigate several social realms, swapping different speech patterns and modes of behavior depending on the context. As the much-missed Dave Chappelle once said, all black Americans are bilingual, equipped with one language for the street and another for the job interview. This ability to develop and express one’s dynamism, and to control one’s appearance based on a particular audience, is stifled by pervasive exposure.
Hamza Shaban, Live in Infamy
Being a leftist in a conservative world of business caused me difficulties for decades, and as a result I was acutely aware of the need for multiple ‘me’s.
Now that I have come out (as a much-more-than-liberal leftist) I am not confronted with the same sense of self-concealment, but I remain aware of the multiphrenia latent in human existence, and the ways that social networking sites try to make us be one indivisible self, despite all evidence to the contrary.
The crisis of publicy is not just that we might be outed, but that a repressive social order can and will judge us, and exclude us from publics we want to participate in.
Louis Brandeis and Samuel Warren argued for the right to privacy in 1890, and we are still struggling with the form of that, one hundred years later. Today, we need a stronger right, the right to publicy: we need to be allowed to share information online and not suffer retribution because of our activities, wants, connections, or thoughts, so long as we cause no harm.
But we live in a repressive world, a world of retributive sanctions, where a night of drunken rowdiness captured on a smartphone and published to the web can end a job, or wearing the wrong halloween costume can lead to a political candidate losing a race.
What we need is a more relaxed, less judgmental society, rather than better laws. We have a long wait, I’m afraid.
(PS The New Inquiry is a great publication, a must read for me.)
I don’t know that the wait will be as long as you think… I suppose we shall see. :)
ripens to self-deception
and the only harvest is a glut of tears. The spirit of King Darius in Persians, by Aeschylus, trans. Lembke & Herington (via heartbloodspirit)
Alain de Benoist