Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Some thoughts on exploration, studying and understanding

One of my favorite psychological illusions is that studying new stuff makes life seem longer.
I completely agree that learning more new stuff makes time feel longer although for different people different ages will be extra memorable. That may be reason why years spent in school leave many memories and the period felt long but due to tediousness it is likely that school years felt very long and filled with lots of boredom but at same time summer vacation is like nothing if reminded several years later in case it was spent in some routine. Even if every day is a happy party then it is easy to forget those times if they didn't have many new experiences. I sometimes enhance entertainment by visiting some new place. Walking to street i have never been to is usually enough to make happy day extra pleasant/memorable and thinking back to it months of years later can make that day feel like some magical time with intense sense of nostalgia. Emotional part of it becomes somewhat amplified after visiting new place but visual memories from that day are mostly clear scenes from the new place i visited.
Day with many new memories can feel longer than weeks or months of routine that gave no important new memories. Learning new stuff is always bit difficult as you are never used to do stuff you have never done before and doing such things feels at first like swimming against the current. At start it's almost never fun, relaxing or pleasant but after getting past that problem it can give pleasant feeling of understanding for life that lasts for lifetime.
Learning much can stretch sense of time in a surreal way. Sometimes i felt like i was hundreds of years old or even more ancient when studying and especially after getting new personal ideas about physics. New data about physics seems to stretch this sense of age the most. Maybe because physics is connected to everything around and i often get automatic stream of thoughts about many generations of experimentation that lead to those understandings or devices.
Physical training may build muscles but learning feels like building sense of hugely long lifetime. Both may feel exhausting. I do feel that not studying is somewhat more relaxing but it causes tiredness and feeling that i'll forget that day due to lack of new memories almost like it never happened. Pretty much anything in life that is memorable is tiresome in some way so i don't care much for excuses that people shouldn't learn stuff if it tires them. Being more aware of this illusion may tempt more people to start learning more actively.

One bit annoying part about fast learning is that it seems to cause insomnia like i forgot how to fall asleep when i got new ideas or memories few hours before bedtime. New knowledge along with emotions they caused can keep replaying themselves in thoughts for maybe up to 6 hours (in less extreme events) and if they formed at midnight then they tend to keep me awake until early morning. I usually bypass it by learning before 6 PM.

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