NaNoWriMo Day 6: The Importance of Learning and a Painting
“If you feel naive, learn.” That’s what my dad said to me after we had a long conversation about the environment, society and politics in general. I get very passionate when it comes to the way we treat our earth. Then again, with every additional information I get, I feel like I know nothing at all. Every piece of knowledge opens up another world. You see that you haven’t discovered anything yet. It’s like the people who thought that the earth is flat. They knew everything about that round disc. Then they realised that our planet is in fact a sphere they knew nothing about. The more we learn, the less we know.
I believe in life-long learning. With every book you read and every person you get to know, you realise that you haven’t considered so many things yet. My dad and I were talking about carbon emissions. He said: “Wait a moment, has anyone considered that more people on this earth will also breathe out more carbon?” I said that this portion wouldn’t be that significant. Turns out that just the breathing of India’s population equals the emissions of our German transport system. Diving deeper into any kind of topic you find how little you actually know. There are three ways to react: a) You don’t care. b) You don’t consume any media anymore because it is too much for you. c) You want to know everything and you often feel naive and uneducated. Therefore you read book after book and try to keep up.
I love learning and studying. When I went vegan I read every book my library had to offer. I watched film upon film and read articles about it. I became obsessed with the topic once my eyes where opened. I found out that everything I should review everything I have ever been taught about nutrition. Now my family and friends ask questions about being vegan and I can answer them. I still feel like I don’t know enough yet. I still feel that I have to educate myself on nutrients and where to get them.
“I only trust statistics I have faked by myself.” My dad always asks me where I have those facts from. We live in a world with no independent media. Even if they talk about incidents objectively, they still can leave certain parts out. “History is always written by the winners. When two cultures clash, the loser is obliterated, and the winner writes the history books – books which glorify their own cause and disparage the conquered foe. As Napoleon once said, ‘What is history, but a fable agreed upon?” You find that sentence in The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.
This is why we need science. You can objectify it. You can measure something and the finding stays the same. The interpretations may vary. The basis does not.
To be a good citizen in this world it is important to learn. To be open-minded and to accept criticism. It is always dangerous to adopt an opinion without any or little information. For me, it is difficult to stay up to date with the news in this world. To get them from different sources, compare their messages. We simply don’t have the time to think about every little piece of knowledge we acquire from five perspectives. We have to make sacrifices. Our news come in little portions, bite-sized.
Sometimes I want to cry out: Give me everything you have about this topic, I want more! In the era of the Internet, it is so easy to inform yourself. You can get knowledgable on the subspecies of rays. A little excursion to tree species that lived in the Ordovician?
Stay curious. With every new fact you learn a new door opens up and you find yourself in another corridor of doors. We are build to be curious and to seek knowledge. If our ancestors wouldn’t have played with fire, our whole evolution wouldn’t have been possible. Well, what’s that interesting animal over there? Ouch… Oh, Gaby, it’s hot! Let’s put some food around it and see what happens. I don’t know why my hypothetical Stone Age woman is named Gaby, but you get my point. Knowledge is a vital part of our development.
My favourite fictional character is Hermione Granger. “When in doubt, go to the library” seems to be my new motto. I adore her passion for her movement S.P.E.W. and how she pieced all information together before anyone else did. Her curiosity inspires me. She always read books before the term even started. She helped her friends when they needed it and she even used a time-turner to be able to take all the courses! Solving riddles, she always mentions the books she got the solutions from.
I’m sharing a painting with you today I completed last week. My admiration for Michelle Obama is endless. I listened to a lot of her talks she gave in the previous weeks and I just love how she speaks. She has the ability to capture people with her words. She values education and knowledge. The painting I did of her sits over my desk, next to Malala. Every time I feel discouraged or unwilling to study, I look at them and find strength. If you have any suggestion which amazing woman I should paint as well, please tell me!
The process of painting has been difficult. I started with a sketch and as I put some colours on the canvas I knew that it wouldn’t work out. I was discouraged, I had to turn the painting around to not look at it anymore. I tried again. The next sketch turned out a lot better. Creating a painting is a lot like writing. You put a sentence on the paper. Rewrite it. Change words. Change their order, their tone. In painting you try and add a bit of a risky colour. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. You paint over it. Start again. It’s also a lot like making sculptures. You work a face out of a canvas until if finally looks at you. Nods. You’ve done a good job.
I’m not that easily satisfied with my work but I’m proud of this one. Painting, just like writing, is hard. There are days when it really doesn’t work at all. Then you have those days when everything falls into place. Where all the days you spent studying proportions of the human body are worthwhile. When all the hours you spent learning grammar make sense. You can never learn too much, stay curious.
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