ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge
Lifelong learning is the continued pursuit of knowledge through all the stages of life.
- To be old is a glorious thing when one has not unlearned what it means to begin.
- Martin Buber, Eclispe of God (1952), p. 34
- Let every one of us ... acknowledge that he ... does not comprehend all those things which are necessary to be known; and that therefore progress is to be made to the very end of life: for this is our wisdom, to be learners to the end.
- John Calvin, Commentaries on the Prophet Zechariah, 4:13
- Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.
- John Cotton Dana, as quoted in The New York Times Book Review, March 5, 1967, p. 55
- One often says to oneself ... that one ought to avoid having too many different businesses, to avoid becoming a jack-of-all-trades, and that the older one gets, the more one ought to avoid entering into new business. But ... the very fact of growing older means taking up a new business; all our circumstances change, and we must either stop doing anything at all or else willingly and consciously take on the new role we have to play on life’s stage.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Maxims and Reflections (1833), #259
- If you obtain provision for yourself of spiritual abundance, don’t throw the surplus at people’s heads; feed it back into your own industry as capital for the production of more abundance.
- Henry S. Haskins, Meditations in Wall Street (1940), p. 37
- He who does not increase his knowledge decreases it.
- Hillel the Elder in Pirkei Avot, 1:13
- The central task of education is to implant a will and facility for learning; it should produce not learned but learning people. The truly human society is a learning society, where grandparents, parents, and children are students together.
- Eric Hoffer, Reflections on the Human Condition (2006), #32
- There is a great difference between still believing something and again believing it.
- Georg Lichtenberg, The Waste Books, R. J. Hollingdale trans. (2000), E8
- There is a difference between the ordinary person who may discuss these things occasionally over a pint of beer at the local pub, or worry about them for a while before dropping off to sleep, and the person who makes a serious lifelong commitment to struggling with them and turns that commitment into a part of his or her very self-definition. For one cannot say, I’ve finished theology; now I’ll move on to another subject. There is a sense in which one might say something similar of Akkadian grammar or the family tree of the Hapsburg dynasty, but one cannot reasonably assert it of exploration into God’s revelation, which is, by definition infinite in its implications for human understanding. To be a theological student in the full sense of those words cannot be a temporary state or a preamble to something else, such as the ministerial priesthood or an all-round education. Rather, it is a solemn engagement to developing over a lifetime the gift of Christian wonder or curiosity, which is the specifically theological mode of faith. As theologians, then, we commit ourselves to the lifelong study and reflection which the satisfaction of such curiosity will need. Our faith is from now on, in St. Anselm’s words, fides quaerens intellectum, “a faith that quests for understanding.”
- Aidan Nichols, The Shape of Catholic Theology (1991), pp. 18-19
- Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.
- Peter, First Epistle, 2:2
- As the saints and prophets were often forced to practise long vigils and fastings and prayers before their ecstasies would fall upon them and their visions would appear, so Virtue in its purest and most exalted form can only be acquired by means of severe and long continued culture of the mind. Persons with feeble and untrained intellects may live according to their conscience; but the conscience itself will be defective. … To cultivate the intellect is therefore a religious duty; and when this truth is fairly recognized by men, the religion which teaches that the intellect should be distrusted and that it should be subservient to faith, will inevitably fall.
- William Winwood Reade, The Martyrdom of Man (1872), p. 540
- Every pleasure defers to its last its greatest delights.
- Seneca the Younger, Letters, 12 (Robin Campbell trans.)
- He who leaves school, knowing little, but with a longing for knowledge, will go farther than one who quits, knowing many things, but not caring to learn more.
- John Lancaster Spalding, Aphorisms and Reflections (1901), p. 223
- Learning proceeds until death and only then does it stop. ... Its purpose cannot be given up for even a moment. To pursue it is to be human, to give it up to be a beast.
- Xun Zi, "An Exhortation to Learning," Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy (2001), p. 258