I Love Learning

Learning is interesting, one observation I’ve seen is how I recall people more readily than others in my dreams, some of these people I’ve only met a few times or once, or not at all, but because they have a connection to something I’m learning, they make repeated appearances in my dreams. My guess is that because I’m encountering these people in the context of what I’m learning and am passionate about, my mind files them away as being information worth remembering for the long term.

Curiously, I’m often encountering different languages in my dreams, sometimes it is ones I’ve not learned yet. For example, I have not learned Japanese, but I know a few words, and can usually identify it as Japanese upon hearing it. I’ve had dreams featuring Japanese speakers. I do have dreams where I interact with Chinese Speakers, and it is nice, because I can usually speak back to them. I know some French, but it seems to be strangely absent from my dreams. I have had Spanish in my dreams, but I haven’t studied Spanish. English is still my most used ‘dream-language’.

It all makes me think however, that dreams are kind of like a method our brains use to process information, and I’ve noticed my dreams are much more likely to use my newest bits of information or something that has occurred throughout my day as something I was thinking about or trying to remember. In many ways, this is quite cool. It’s like our minds says to the information we take in. ‘too much, I’ll deal with you later.’ and files it away to be processed in our sleep.

It has been my observation that what we think throughout a day, while we are awake, is more likely to affect our dreams than what we eat, though I have noticed that some foods do tend to interfere with what I dream.

I do not have a lot of bizarre dreams, only dreams where I meet people I’ve not met, or have only met only once or twice, usually while wandering around the grocery store. Funny how task we repeat a lot work their ways into our dreams, though usually in odd ways, in my case, it’s meeting people I may not have met, but have only seen on Facebook or something of that nature.

Apart from dreams, I’ve noticed how my mind categorizes information is rather interesting, I have a bit of a passion for languages, and it has been my observation that I tend to remember things that have some connection to languages much more readily. Before languages, I observed this, but my theory then was that it held for things that I loved, not things I was learning. Learning, makes sense, really, I suppose if you were to think of the mind like a tree or a plant of some sort, and that in learning, it grows new or better roots to process the information, we can expect that after a time anything remotely related to what is being learned would be more readily remembered.

I suppose, it could be that our minds links information that is deemed to be relevant to existing information to each other, so that as one is remembered, so is the other.

I also believe, though I’m not entirely sure as to why, that people have different styles and ways in which they see things, a strength or lens you might say. For me, it’s words. For others it might be numbers. I look at the universe and I see words everywhere, I see it as being a linguistic reality, where someone who thinks through a mathematical lens, they might see it as a numerical reality, though, and perhaps this is because I’m such a linguistic thinker, math itself is a language of sorts. It doesn’t make one way any better or lesser, it just means I have a slightly different way of looking at things than a mathematician might. When I had centered my world around music, music was the foundation of how I saw things. Curious that I could alter something like that, from music, to words, but perhaps it started when I began to write stories, and continued when I found a passion for language itself.

So what happened to music? I suppose we quarreled, we had a disagreement, and music went her way and I went mine. On the other hand it’s not as though words came along and replaced music, it it’s as though music became words. You could almost say, well, I am saying it, that the evolution of a mind is a rather fascinating process, and what you are today, may not be true of you ten years into the future. Though to be honest, I do not expect to see my love of words to go the way of the dinosaur any time in the near future. Of course years ago, I didn’t really think I would ever not be quite as passionate about music, or computers for that matter as I was then. Take computers for example, I used to enjoy these monstrous beast, yet now they’re mostly a means to an end, a way of getting stuff done, but not so exciting in and of themselves. I can write about as well on two decade old computers as I can my newest specimens. (Well, okay, more like fifteen year old computers… Though I have one or two that are about two decades old lingering around about the house. One is just short of three.) The point of the plot is that interest change, and so do we.

These days I think we can expect to see things related to languages as sticking most readily in my mind, the best part is, that I tend to embrace the whole culture of the languages when I learn them. So I’m not really just learning how to say a few new words so I can use poorly translated phrases to ask for American food in the far off corners of the Earth. No, it’s more as if I am being reborn into a whole new culture, altering my very cultural identity and becoming someone completely new. The power of the language in the shaping one’s world is not to be underestimated, with each new language, it as almost as though there is a whole new you, you get to reintroduce yourself to the world all over again as a completely new person, taking in sights and sounds and a cultural identity as if for the first time, yes, you’ve done it before as you learned your mother (or native) tongue, but having both your new and old languages, the learning experience of the new language, tends to have a profound effect upon your view, even through your native (or mother) language.

For me, for years, I wanted to learn French, but it wasn’t until just over a year ago that I decided to give it a go, and I did learn a bit of French, and I still do some practice here and there, reading and such, in French to this day, but I didn’t really expect that about three weeks into starting my French I would discover the Mandarin Chinese language. So despite having the dream of learning French for years, I jumped ship to Chinese, and I do not regret it. I have found it to be one of the best decisions I’ve made. Sometimes, putting what you thought you wanted on the back burner can prove very beneficial. Curiously, even with just my bits and pieces of French that I do study here and there, I have learned enough that I can watch most movies with the French audio and subtitles and have a very good idea what is being said, as well as using French for my computer’s and phone’s interface. Though why I’m noticeably improving every few months beats me, it’s not a very active study, despite using it in the background all the time, I rarely take the time to actually study it. I’m able to understand a lot of what is being said in French though. I suppose one would learn to understand before one can speak something.

I love learning, and I like to learn, and one of the things I enjoy most is finding new ways to learn new things.