Curiosity & Personal Improvement

"One can build a successful business by appealing to the intelligence of the American people…

"I often see... older 'returning' students in night classes at my university, and count it a privilege to work with them. Unlike the younger students, they are not there because they have to be. Their unfeigned passion for knowledge and self-improvement, their heightened stake in the material under study, are inspiring and infectious.

"They come with motives deeper and more complicated than a mere desire to acquire organized and accredited knowledge about a subject. If that were all education was about, then, yes, DVDs and distance learning would soon supplant the classroom. But they want something more intangible than that. They come to school seeking some kind of renewal, hoping for a chance to better themselves -- to pursue their deferred dream, or their unexplored interests -- or just to move beyond the constraints of their current lives and perhaps learn what they didn't pick up the first time around. That's what the university represents for them, and it reflects a very American faith in human possibility.

"And one of the chief things that they come to class for is something that a tape or a TV or even the best virtual connection cannot ever provide: The bodily presence of others. It is one thing to listen alone to a videotaped lecture, it is quite another to hear the same subject expounded by a flesh-and-blood human being standing there before you -- someone responsive to your questions, attentive to your particular concerns, capable of cracking jokes about the events of the day, someone with the full range of human quirks and oddities, and yet also someone for whom the subject forms a living and present reality, and with whom you can have a personal relationship.

"There is an electricity in the sheer human presence that draws us in, as every theatergoer or churchgoer knows, in ways that can be only remotely approximated by televised or online content. That electricity is generated not merely by one's teacher but also by the presence of one's fellow students, whose company makes the classroom into a community of sorts. That experience of connection with others in the disinterested pursuit of knowledge is one of life's great pleasures, and it is a considerable part of what students are searching for when they return. I only wish that they found it more often than they do."

(“WEEKEND JOURNAL; Taste: Prof in a Box.” Wilfred M. Mcclay. Wall Street Journal: August 24, 2007. pg. W.11)

AN OLD, INFIRM man once said, "The thing that keeps me going from day to day is that I can't wait to see what's next." Curiosity, a hunger and thirst for growth, and the richness and texture of human interaction provide us with fertile ground for development, satisfaction and success.

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