Thoughts And Ideas
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Thoughts And Ideas

The Internet Has Freed Us Learners From Academic Institutions

The question now is if we can realize and sustain this freedom.

Photo by Pixabay: https://www.pexels.com/photo/low-section-of-man-against-sky-247851/

As I was reading a biology book published 162 years ago, in the comforts of my home, without having to hurry for a job to go to, planning my own analysis of the book’s ideas — I wondered if I could have been able to the do the same if I was born twenty years ago (pre-internet) if I wasn’t a biology student/teacher. I say twenty years ago and pre-internet in the context of the nation I am a part of. In nations like the US, the internet would have appeared much earlier.

I will credit the Internet the most for giving me the idea and the courage to not be dependent on a university for learning and on an institution for earning. It’s not that institutions are a hindrance to learning, there are many who learn and earn better than me as a part of academic institutions. But my case was different, I could never adjust to school/college and I never felt comfortable being there, let alone learn. Those institutions were prisons for me. Constant feeling of oppression, fear, pressure — constant waste of time!

This way, the internet came as a savior. Not only as a heaven for self-learning because of the vast resources it contains, the internet was responsible for triggering my stay-at-home writer’s dream too. It’s the mediums on the internet that made me believe I could live independent of the strict suffocating and bullying institutions. I can today read a biology book one minute and Murakami the other and I don’t have to balance the rush to biology and literature lectures. I don’t have to justify my actions to a dean or a CEO. I can all of a sudden stop reading a book and start writing an idea — Like now! Or I can take a nap. Of course, it all comes with a certain self-responsibility and risk but with that I get to be relatively under my own control.

This way, I justify my title: The Internet Has Freed Us Learners From Academic Institutions

Now let me talk about the subtitle:

The question now is if we can realize and sustain this freedom.

Once again, the good part about the decimation of the institutional gates is for people like me, not for everyone. There are many who enjoy a better career than me through the institutions.

The internet has decimated the gates for me as it provides freer and better access to learning and a plethora of career options than the institutions could ever provide.

I don’t think people have had this kind of freedom to learn since the systemization of education in medieval Europe and its subsequent dissemination to the rest of the world. Learning had become about classrooms, tests, examinations, uniforms and tyrannical teachers. It had lost its true purpose — to know and understand. It had become a process of selecting ideal tools for prevalent power. It still is. This way, the opportunity to know and understand things without classrooms, tests, examinations, uniforms, tyrannical teachers and benchmarks is freedom for ones who want to really learn.

Realization

If there are those for whom institutions are saviors and the only hope, there are also those who aren’t made for institutions. The latter includes the curious type, the imaginative type and the spontaneous type who can’t learn a thing under the influence of fear and who can’t conceive a thought amidst the rat race. It includes those who can only learn and create in solitude, like to jump from one subject to another in a flash of impulse, books to books in a moment of extreme curiosity, from one form of expression (like writing) to another (music) in a moment of inspiration.

For such people, institutions are like shackles. They make you forcefully stay in a chapter long after your mind has leaped to a completely different subject; they make you play a chord long after you have already composed a melody in your head; they make you study F= ma when you have already begun comprehending General Relativity; and the worst of all, they make you learn the subject of your intense passion amidst people you don’t even slightly relate to. With bullies, heroes and darlings!

There are many still of this type who are forced to adjust to academic institutions with a lot of pain and suffering. It may be you, your sibling, your children, or someone you don’t know… the challenge then in realizing the internet potential is to first know what the internet can provide and then understand the ways and dare to go those paths. The paths are challenging of course, but what you get from them is what you should have from life. Once again, it requires understanding and courage. It requires you to go your way and share your experiences with others you find are the free types. The presence and success of large enough people would imply more opportunities and more resources. Even primary and secondary schools are now dispensable — which comes with great responsibility, of course!

Sustainment

While the internet provides a lot of resources and tools for a free life, it isn’t devoid of opportunistic parasites who are waiting to cling to your free soul either. Those exist in the form of online courses, digital educational technology platforms, progressive institutions and even in the form of your digitally adapted school/university. Who can forget the interent overlords who will always be there! They will try to lure you with rhetoric of free learning and experts, and when you are the most vulnerable, they will attack you and push you down the same traditional abyss. The established academic institutions will play their politics and economics to ensure their influence and power remains. The challenge for everyone is then to understand them and defeat them so that this golden opportunity we have today will sustain.

Considering how we are here for knowledge, I think we will be able to successfully do that!

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Adesh Acharya

Adesh Acharya

Author | Mind & Human Study, Direction | Think, See, Experience Mind-Life-World (with me). Subscribe to me via email. More at https://fradesh.com |