Thinkerers Donít Study
An open classroom. The walls are covered by posters typical of a classroom, showing such things as the drawing of human anatomy, political and geographical maps of the world, the alphabet, the table of chemical elements, and a diagram titled: ďHow a Bill Becomes a Law.Ē
At center stage is an elevated podium. The Shudoff stands on the podium holding a long pointer. From time to time, the Shudoff taps one or another of the posters. The Canter stands nearby.
Canter: People canít avoid studying.
Shudoff: There are always new things that people should learn.
Vulcan: And you assume that the only way to learn is to study.
Explorer: We never study. We just find out things. We were finding out things before you knew what study means.
Un: And did you find out what study means?
Explorer: Yes. It means reading about something other people say you should know.
Canter: That wonít work. You canít expect people to do what they should do.
Shudoff: We gave up on that long ago. We are constantly trying to get people to do what they should do. They donít do it.
Un: Then why do you keep after them about it?
Shudoff: So we can make them feel guilty about not doing it.
Explorer: We donít study. We find out things. And we never feel guilty.
Canter: You canít learn that way. You donít know what your teachers want you to learn.
Networker: Never work for anyone but yourself. You can set your own goals no matter who sets your salary.
Engineer: Then maybe your first job is to figure out what your instructors think you should be able to do when you finish.
Explorer: A textbook usually tells you the objective in the introduction and at the beginning of each chapter.
Networker: The same is true of most instruction manuals.
Whys Guy: If a book tells you what you need to know in the introduction, why does it repeat that at the beginning of each chapter?
Un: Because nobody reads the introduction.
Whys Guy: If the introduction carries such important information, why does nobody read it?
Un: For the same reason that nobody listens to sheet music.
Networker: Some musicians do. They read the notes and hear the music in their heads.
Vulcan: It takes appropriate skills for a person the translate abstract symbols into concrete experience.
Networker: 'Twas brillig, and the slithy tovesÖ
Vulcan: Quite so. Jabberwocky is an elegant commentary on words that lack concrete referents.
Networker: They seem to fill my head with ideas, but I don't exactly know what they are.
Vulcan: The lines of Jabberwocky?
Networker: No. The introductions of textbooks.
Un: The purpose of reading a textbook is to understand the introduction.
Shudoff: You shoulr understand the introduction at the beginning, so you know the objective of the book.
Whys Guy: Why would you care about the objective of the book. Why not just care about your own objectives?
Un: Right. Does the book care about your feelings? Does it show any interest in your objectives?
Empath: The author might care.
Vulcan: Authors donít know what people do with their books.
Un: It is probably better that way.
Hunter: The objectives of an author do not interest us. We do not hunt on command. We leave that to the Shudoffs.
Un: The Shudoffs are better at nagging than at reaching objectives.
Vulcan: The objectives of others are irrelevant. What counts is your own objective.
Canter: You canít use your own objective if you donít know what it is.
Un: If you donít know your objective, your problem is to figure out your objective.
Canter: You canít waste time on that. You have to start studying.
Vulcan: Knowing your objective is a labor-saving device. If you know where you are going, you know where to stop.
Copyright (c) D. F. Dansereau & S. H. Evans