Learning and Understanding
Natural and unnatural learning
When younger, if not thwarted, one can enjoy learning. A bright uncle I had said he would go to the library and read all the books in the library, starting at one end of a shelf and finishing at the other end and then again. Later Uncle Albert had stomach troubles, surgery, and afterwards he would arrive at one location during a visit and leave right away for the next. He had become impatient, always ‘on to the next thing.’
Common knowledge says a healthy mind wants to suck up all the knowledge there is. This all takes energy, however, and effort, and time. Later, all this learning can hurt the brain. I recall a man who prided himself on all he knew about auto parts. He worked at an auto part store and the new information kept on piling in. His brain became "fried," as he put it. He literally had hurt his brain by learning too much.
As one ages, it becomes apparent that one has to put the brakes on learning. It is better to know just what you need to know. Too much absorbed knowledge uses up your vitality. If, as a young person, you had learned in a natural, unforced way you probably could still absorb some knowledge without self-damage. If, on the other hand, you were pressured and learned out of fear or ego your brain almost fights the very act. Perhaps Alzheimer exemplifies this in the sense the mind returns to a childlike state and refuses to absorb any more information.