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Self-Directed Learning


I don’t know anything. But I do know that everything is interesting if you go into it

deeply enough.

Richard Feynman


It has been known since the time of antiquity that people who acquire knowledge on their own do so due to a strong intrinsic motivation. One of the most significant ancient Greek philosophers, Heraklit (6-5 century BCE), wrote about the supreme role of self-education in the formation of personality, and this is what all polymaths are famous for. A great number of the versatile geniuses who left their imprint of our civilization were self-learners, so-called autodidacts. Autodidacts can be divided into two groups: the first includes individuals who have acquired their knowledge and education entirely on their own, such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau or Benjamin Franklin; while the second group includes individuals who received a full formal education and then sought further education in new subjects, such as the Brothers Grimm, storytellers and linguists who also possessed law degrees.


The doubtless advantage of self-learners who are not suppressed by conditioning is that their refreshing perspective brings great benefits to science or the arts, as we have seen in numerous examples above. It is not uncommon for autodidact research in a particular field of knowledge to become a university discipline. In such and similar cases we see a strong manifestation of the depth dimension - one dwells upon a subject for a longer period of time, getting deeper to the point where, according to the basic law of materialist dialectics, a change in the quality of an object occurs when the accumulation of quantitative changes reaches a certain limit.

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