Loving, Learning, and the Learning Project
I remember my first day at Midland Elementary school when I entered kindergarten, and I remember when I was first fed up with school and wanted something better, and due to the elasticity of memory I remember them as the same day. They could not have been, but they might as well have been because ever since I have been puzzled by what I was told I was supposed to achieve.
At the start of every school year I was sure it would get better. “Now, I will be taken seriously.” But, of course, I never was. With each year, an appreciation of meaning and insight just got further away, until I reached graduate school. At that point it evaporated entirely. Was education just a hoax, or did I misunderstand it?
After graduate school, I thought a mature approach to knowledge exists in business, so I went into business, and to some extent it does. I met a few people who were committed to their craft and found personal meaning in their work. But for the most part, the question of meaning in life was still absent.
All our lives we’re told to develop discernment, exercise judgment, and find the importance in things, but I found scarce few who were doing it. Around 2000 I decided to retrace my steps, and ask those people who were living a committed life what they were doing, and why. So started “The Learning Project,” which is now a book set to be published in January of 2019.
My First Interview
In 2005 I collected my first interview. It was with Charles Hard Townes, an employer and mentor in my last year of college in 1979. Townes invented the laser the year I was born, and went to Stockholm in 1964 to join his family friend Martin Luther King, where they each received a Nobel prize. Townes was a special person, always welcoming and attentive. He could be heard minutes before he arrived at our 4th floor offices singing his way up the stairwell. There was something in his enthusiasm that was infectious.
Then I went to an old schoolmate, Neil Tyson, the director at New York’s Hayden Planetarium and an astrophysicist. He shared my interest and he’d since become an icon in education. What would he say?
What kind of answer is this? It is one that takes us back to the deepest forms of identity and the earliest mythology: the role of the true mentor and the fundamental stages of growth. It is an “answer” that raises the question of light and dark, good and evil, chaos and humanity. I find myself holding a key, but what it unlocks I don’t know.
The Learning Project, Rites of Passage will be published and go on sale January 1st, 2019, in both paper and digital editions. The paper version should be available through most online booksellers, the digital version will be available only through Amazon for the first 90 days, and after that in other digital formats from other retailers.
I’m giving away a PDF digital version now, here, for nothing here. Click this green button and you’ll be taken to my website’s book sale page. “Buy” the book for a zero amount, provide your email, and you’ll be sent a link to the latest PDF that is readable on any computer or tablet.