Successful sheep? LO9876

Benjamin Compton (
Tue, 10 Sep 1996 09:25:17 -0700

Replying to LO9849 --

Michael & all. . .

Many of the great thinkers of our day have been "poorly educated." Among
them Thomas Edison and Winston Churchill. Try to imagine a world without
either of these men?

Churchill did so poorly in school that he settled on the military for a
career (much to the chagrin of his father, who was renouned in England for
his political skill and keen intellect). As Churchill was a field reporter
in the war in India, just before the Boer War, he came to the conclusion
that he must "become my own university." He did. The world benefited from
his dedication to personal education.

Recently I was talking to a friend who has a PhD in Physics. We got on the
topic of Einstein, and he mentioned that Einstien was not as
mathematically gifted as were others. But, Einstein had an incredible
capacity to imagine new possibilities, and to explore things in a very
visual way. Einstein more or less verified this when he said, "imagination
is more important than intelligence."

Can we teach others how to be imaginative? I don't know.

It seems to me that education is really a personal issue: How educated do
I want to be? How dedicated to learning am I? And these two questions
really have nothing to do with formal education.

One of my heros is William Stephenson. He was Churchill's master-spy
during WW II. He had a PhD in one of the physical sciences. When asked
where he learned so much he replied, "like everyone else, from books."
Sure he had an advanced degree, but he recognized that his education had
come from his own effort and discipline.

Schools do provide a nice structure for some people to learn, especially
those who lack the discipline to learn on their own. I'm surprised at the
number of people I know who stop reading substantive books after they
graduate from college. It really breaks my heart. Learning is a lifelong
pursuit, whether we're college-educated or self-educated.

This, I think, is the message of the LO: Learning is a continual process,
especially when it comes to practicing the five disciplines defined by
Senge. It is a lifelong process.


Ben Compton

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