On Saturday I watched a program about the relief of Bergen-Belsen, world war 2 has been a subject that since I became housebound I have found out so much about that at school for some reason they hid from us. It started simply because I can’t stand the drivel that streams out of the both the BBC and ITV every morning, I have to say I was really disappointed to find that in all the years I hadn’t been able to see the morning offering, that nothing had changed. I honestly don’t know who they aim the programming at that time of day, but it isn’t for me that is for sure. So I started channel surfing, I was searching for documentaries about almost anything that might have just a little more body about it, it was the history channels that I found myself watching more and more. I didn’t head out to learn anything about the war, in fact, the first program I watched was more by accident and design, but it triggered hundreds of hours of watching and learning, learning about things I often found hard to believe, the details of battles, things that happened daily in both the UK and Germany to the ordinary people and the truth about how it all happened. Strangely the concentration camps have had very few programs made about them, for some reason that evades me, it is a subject most programs brushed over or around.
I understand that most people don’t want to see what happened there and that is why I was so impressed with the program I saw on Saturday. All those images you don’t want to see, weren’t there, they weren’t needed, I can only applaud the writer and director as what the produced was horrific and showed glimpses big enough to show the worst of it but not gory and the impact was direct and to the point. Yet still once the facts were established it turned into a really good and even inspiring story of how they nursed the victims back to health. They told the story of the survivors and their carers in a way that left you without any doubt of what happened there, but it was done with compassion towards the victim and clear blame where it was needed. I for one, if I had a teenage child, would want the school they attended to show them this program, so that none of them grow up blinkered and unaware of the truth and how important it is to never let anything like it happen again. I left school with just a pile of dates in my head and a couple of names, nothing more, no idea of what happened or even why it happened and that to me is just wrong.
Learning has been one of the joys that I have rediscovered in the last few years, being here at home with limit activities, well as I said it just sort of happened, the subject I now know about totally surprise me, so many things that 10 years ago I would have laughed at if someone told me I would actually enjoy. I said at the beginning of this year that I was also going to try and break through my bad education of the first world war, it has been much slower than I thought and I have to admit I am still having to push myself to watch some of it, rather than wanting to. I just keep finding other subjects that bit more interesting, but I honestly think that the day I no longer want to learn something new, then that is the day I will know that I have had enough of life. I find it really beyond my understanding how anyone wouldn’t want to learn, to spend time watching and reading about things that are factual and fascinating, from history to science and beyond. It is also one of my theories.
I believe that a personal attitude to learning I believe has a direct link to how young at heart they are and even how long they will live. Part of the reason that children are full of life is because they are always learning, everything they do teaches them something. Unfortunately, there are many many people who actually go out of their way to stop learning the day they leave school. They are the ones who never sit and watch anything that is factual, anything that is educational, their TV viewing is all about entertainment rather than something that will stretch themselves in any way. Then there are people who keep learning until they retire from work, their learning is always work focused, as it has financial value, but one they can’t earn anything from, they then stop. Then there are people who yearn to know everything, never happy with what they know as there is still so much they don’t and they work at learning about anything that comes their way. Here is the theory, the first group I believe age quicker, slow down faster and may even die earlier. The second group, well they do well until they retire, at that point they also start to age quicker, to slow down and die in the mid range, the final group stay younger longer, have more active and inquiring brains, and they keep going even when their bodies are slowing, many also don’t retire as they are still connected to the younger generations learning what they know and just keep going until their body fails.
I also totally believe that my need to learn is part of the reason why I cope with health problems so well and it is something you can actually teach yourself to do, just start with something that you have an interest in and pushing gently from there. Poor health always means time on your hands, which can lead to boredom and eventually even depression, if you have an enquiring mind you can never be bored. I used to think that it was just the final part that mattered, that it was the feeling of achievement that completing a goal gives you, that kept you going, but as time has gone on I see now that it is the whole process that matters. From the minute, you decide what it is today you want to learn about, be that learning to knit or the Napoleonic wars, you actually start to feel better about yourself. I guess that part of it is because you are planning into your future, you might not be able to know if you will be up to seeing someone next week, but you can pick up and put down your learning to go with what your body will let you do. Unlike school learning doesn’t happen in set hours on set days, nor does it have to end on any set date, learning can happen whenever you want it to and it might just be the thing that makes your next few months better than they would have been. Once completed to your satisfaction, well there is always something else to start on when it is.
Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 15/05/12 – Common Sense is vanishing
I am constantly amazed at the lack of knowledge of simple things, common sense situation that I see and hear daily on the TV. A prime example being those on the news in the past few weeks, almost daily saying they couldn’t understand why there was a drought, as they had had an hrs rain that day? Every day from when the drought started in England, we heard a member of the public, followed by another one the following day saying the same thing and each showing to me a huge lack of what I would call common sense. The scary ones were those who were wearing suits and clutching briefcases with middle-class accents, the business men of our……