Thanks for your insightful response, and I really appreciate your candidness. You’re definitely right about my elementary (or nonexistent!) knowledge in the philosophy and science of learning! It’s an area I have not academically (nor even amateurishly, if I must be honest) explored, but you’ve given me a lot to think about and I will check out the Wikipedia articles you referenced as a starting point.
From the way you write, I’m assured you’re an incredibly smart individual. You clearly have a lot more life and career experience than I do, and I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to share it with me and others. You may have been fortunate or clever enough to consciously grasp the concept of learning as you have described it from a very early age, whether by education or intuition. I myself am not so smart (or intuitive!).
That being said, I think it’s an exaggeration to describe my sharing an anecdotal experience as trying to “sell a reinvented wheel as a discovery”. This piece is not even in the realm of being intended to be a thesis on cognitive learning or the science thereof. I don’t pretend to have “discovered” anything revolutionary that has not been recognized before. If that’s how this article came across, I apologize.
Rather, I’m entirely sure that there are people who, like me, haven’t yet consciously recognized that there are alternatives and supplements to receiving instruction after instruction when it comes to learning, or simply haven’t acted on such recognition. People who, like me, were always content with teachers or tests or assignments always leading them to where they needed to go next.
I shared my story so that people like me, who may not be as intelligent or informed as you and many others, might internalize what you already intuitively grasp. In that sense, it’s less discovery and more a story of realization by application of what you so eloquently describe. It’s merely a telling of how I personally bridged the gap between what I learned in class and what I saw as practical applications of that knowledge, and I hope by telling it that more people might come to realize that which is so elementary for you.
As a final note, I must respectfully disagree with your assessment that such a realization is “sort of pathetic”. It may be elementary, yes. It may be simple, and it may be primitive. But while it might pale in comparison to mankind going to Mars (which, rest assured, is marvelously impressive!), it’s still progress for the individual. Does that mean we can be satisfied and stop learning there? Of course not. But I think even a small step is worth commending—or at the very least, not worth demeaning.