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Does your interest in learning cease at a certain age?

  1. Apr 5, 2008 #1
    For instance, when a person graduates from college , do you think they've learned all they need to know and so they just apply the skills they acquired in college to society? Or do you think people just stop feeding there mind after they had kids? Of course, you need to learn parental skills, but learning those kinds of skills are by instincts like naturally learning how to eat without choking on what you are eating or walk.

    What I am trying to say is , does your interests for learning about any subject waned once you graduate from college or simply just as you grow older?
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  3. Apr 5, 2008 #2


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    Heck no! You've only learned the tip of the iceberg by the time you graduate college, there's a whole lot more to learn...and a lot of lessons that you can't get in school too.
  4. Apr 5, 2008 #3


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    No, I don't think so. Life is a continuous learning process, I believe.
  5. Apr 5, 2008 #4
    Agree, some people devellop the urge to learn more and more about what's going on as they get older, realizing that time is too limited to know everything you want to know.
  6. Apr 5, 2008 #5
    Nah one of me best friends has a PhD and has recently done a course in philosophy. He also reads philosophical and literary classics as if they were going out of fashion. I think some people never lose the will to learn.

    Another friend has a PhD also and spends much of his time trying to solve unresolved mathematical problems, the latest was a 3d solution to the Dirac equation, and a solution to the Navier stokes equations given the fields medal prizes remit. He's not even a mathematician poor soul, just a lowly physicist, bless him. :smile:

    Still as a once opined musician said: there are more questions than answers, and the more you find out the less you know. Not a bad philosophy.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2008
  7. Apr 5, 2008 #6
    Yes. Usually the interest to learn vanishes at some point.

    In high school, people who are interested in math and physics, are usually interested to learn about big open problems, prime numbers, Navier-Stokes equations, string theory and so on..., but when the amount of labor needed to even understand these problems becomes clearer, the interest starts to vanish.
  8. Apr 5, 2008 #7


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    Personally, no. You can never stop learning and I love learning something new.

    jostpuur, I think that has more to do with people finding out that they don't have a passion for a certain subject or find that they don't have the ability to grasp things past a certain point. I would hope that they wouldn't lose interest in everything.
  9. Apr 5, 2008 #8
    hey!---does anyone here want to join up to solve the Clay Mathematics Institute, 'The Millennium Problem' of the Navier-Stokes equation to win the million bucks?

    it would give us something to do on the weekends

    http://www.claymath.org/millennium/Navier-Stokes_Equations/ [Broken]

    you know, we don't have to be an expert to make an original contribution
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  10. Apr 5, 2008 #9


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    College is just preparation. Post-docs go on to do more research after university.

    Personally, I'll never stop learning. I've got more than enough for several lifetimes.
  11. Apr 5, 2008 #10


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    I want to know everything. :smile:

    I suppose some people have no interest in learning however.
  12. Apr 5, 2008 #11
    My interest in learning started near the end of high-school. I'm 21 now, so I have no idea how much longer it will last, but so far so good.
  13. Apr 5, 2008 #12
    So far, at 57, I have not lost my interest in learning new things. Interest or no, in my profession (software engineer), you must learn new things all the time. Even in everyday life you are constantly learning new things. Today I learned from my wife that many of her women friends have tattooed eyebrows. She says it's very common among Asian women. I intend to take a closer look next chance I get. What did you learn today?
  14. Apr 6, 2008 #13
    Lucky my friend didn't think that way.

    My friend has already produced a paper on why he thinks its insoluble. Hehe if on the off chance it gets published, my name is on it as a contributer (sadly not for any maths, only for supplying advice on all the formatting for latex + a few other things) so I already have. :smile:
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  15. Apr 6, 2008 #14
    Isnt this the attitude that cause Robert Pirsig to go crazy and drop out? Cool guy though, like his book.
  16. Apr 6, 2008 #15
    This is a kind of thing, that everybody will always insist saying that they keep learning through their lives, but I'm skeptical about how serious people are about this really. Learning and not learning is not like 0 and 1. Somebody wants to learn more seriously, and somebody less seriously. IMO usually people put their goals way too low.

    I remember being in a taekwondo class, and the master with a black belt asked us "So do we stop learning when we get black belt?", and then answered "Of course no! I keep learning new things every day." However, this same black belt guy also explained, that according to the Newton's laws force = mass * speed (notice the mistake, speed should be replaced with acceleration). It is difficult for me to understand how somebody, who keeps learning new things through his life, would still as an old guy be having such misunderstandings with physics. Seems like the guy stopped learning physics before he left high school!
  17. Apr 6, 2008 #16

    Hmm..well do you ever get tired of breathing? Learning isn't a skill that fades over time. It's not something you can finish, and it's not something that ends a certain age. You can of course, choose not to learn, but it's like riding a bike - If you decide you want to pick it up after a long time, you can do it.

    Just my 2 cents
  18. Apr 6, 2008 #17


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  19. Apr 6, 2008 #18


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    While learning as a laudible thing to desire, there are many things in life just as laudible. Sometimes one may have to forego learning new stuff to accomplish certain goals they've set themsleves to.


    I'm not saying people can't also learn, or that the above don't involve learning, but you can see that there are many things that people could consider more important to do with their lives than acquire new information.
  20. Apr 6, 2008 #19


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    That's hard for me, personally, to understand. My job requires that I constantly learn because things change so quickly, I have to spend at least 6 hours a week in formal training, that's on top of reading journals and keeping on top of things. I would think this is true for most people here.

    I would probably go stark raving mad if I wasn't constantly challenged to think of new solutions and learn new things. What kind of job would someone have that would prevent learning? A receptionist has to keep up with things internal to their company, even it it is only to keep up with empolyees and their schedules. A waiter has to keep up with the menu, what's available, and prices. What kind of work would prohibit learning? Certainly a student would be (hopefully) learning something new every day.
  21. Apr 7, 2008 #20


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    This last example is something that I would not call learning, in the "thirst for knowledge" sense that I think the OP means it.

    Think of a modern-day Michelangelo, who has set himself the task of painting a modern-day Sistene chapel. He has the skills required (being highly experienced painting ceilings), but this new task he has set himself requires all his efforts just to complete it in his lifetime.

    While he certainly may have a thirst for knowledge, the time it takes to learn may well be in conflict with his goal.

    I am not suggesting people won't learn on their job, I am simply suggesting that learning can require compromise, and there are things that one may not wish to compromise.
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