Thursday, August 29, 2013

Goose Bumps!

What is knowledge? Who decides what knowledge is? How does the socio-cultural conditioning of the one who constructs it determine the nature of knowledge? I do not know the answers to these seemingly abstract questions, but I am sure I will know them someday. And very soon! However, what I know is that learning in any form makes me happy, be it technical, historical, social, information-based, or even understanding of knowledge as a concept.

But what has this to do with goose-bumps? Well the story which follows answers this question. Having a terrible day with respect to comprehending the lecture (Numerical Analysis & Software) today, I was looking for courses which I could pick up if I decide to drop the mathematics course (Gosh! I suck at mathematics!).  And then I decided to randomly browse the courses from each department till I stumbled upon the course “Constructivism and Knowledge”. I saw the course listed at 6:40 pm with one seat still left in the class. Interestingly the first lecture for the course was to start exactly 20 minutes later. I quickly decided that I was going to attend it: I looked for the location of the classroom and ran for the bus only to realize that I was late. The bus had already left, but luckily (for me), there was a road accident a few minutes back leading to a road block, which helped me catching the bus after a few minutes of running. As I got down from the bus, incessant rains welcomed me. I had to run again, this time to prevent myself from entering the classroom in rain-soaked cloths.

It is said that “what man proposes, God disposes.” But what I think is if man keeps on proposing, he entire cosmos conspires and forces God to accept the proposal. I reached the class on time, just on time. And this is when it began. Two hours of absolute fun, talking about knowledge, its nature and construction, and then how the learning about knowledge would be accessed by the professor. The class has people from six different nationalities, each having a different reason to take the course. It was fun to see how a skiing instructor who wanted to teach in high school was sitting with someone who just wanted to know something about constructivism and analyze it as a concept.

However, I have my concerns about taking the course. There are issues of getting a good grade in a non-technical course, taking a course which is completely out of sync with my major, pressure of making sure that my actions do not have any negative repercussions on my future and other such worries. But the joy which I got in a single class is incomparable. I wish each class had a similar feeling to it, a similar joy associated with it.

One thing I am extremely happy about is the fact that I broke the inhibition and went ahead to attend the class. To learn whatever I want to is the only reason that I wanted to go to grad school. To study and acquire knowledge without being constrained by factors like grades and funding gives me a joy unparalleled to anything else in the world. Not that I have become fully free from these entanglement (and I believe that one cannot ever be free from such restraining factors)but those few hours of boundary-less leaning made me suck the marrow out of life every moment. And hence the goose bumps!