What a long and torturous road it has been to this new website. A major learning experience. But very interesting.
Now I find them fascinating and absorbing. Where else can you chat on a daily basis with an Egyptian physicist or a Russian geneticist? (I was right about the amount of time one can waste.)
When email first came out I was adamant I was happy with snail mail and the pigeon post (Oxford’s internal mail service). Now I can no more imagine being without email than you can.
As for the web…..
Another problem is time. When one already has a huge amount to do it is daunting to take on something new and different. This is so even if that thing promises to save time.
Finally some have a tendency to patronise people trying to learn something new. It is not nice to be patronised. Better, perhaps, to have one’s excuses ready?
This applies quite generally. To have a ‘closed mind’ is to have reasons for not being interested in something one knows nothing about.
I teach mature students. I love their willingness to learn. Forget the gardening and housework. They spend evenings and weekends learning about philosophy. For some philosophy is completely new. Can you imagine how daunting it must be?
I hope I don’t patronise them. But if I do I am the one at fault. Lecturers in philosophy know it is the ‘naïve’ questions that are useful. These are the questions everyone wants answered. But it takes courage to ask them.
Time is relevant of course. It is unlikely, given the demands on my time, I will ever learn much about football. There are always going to be things I’d rather learn about.
But an open mind is relevant here too.
If I find my neighbour at High Table talks of nothing but football then I have a choice. I can pay lip service to his enthusiasm, and stay ignorant. Or I can genuinely try to see what excites him so. Surely (up to a point) anything can be interesting?
It has taken me ages to get to grips with websites. But I am glad I have. I hope you like it. What will you learn this year?