Time Spent Learning

It’s frustrating spending so much time learning a subject, and then technology changes and the knowledge becomes useless.

The best example I can give is with being a mechanic. I started working on mechanical things 50 years ago, mainly because I was so fascinated by “how they work.” I’d rip apart anything I could get my hands on just to see how it worked. That’s the easy part, pulling something apart. It’s much harder to put it back together and have it still work. :slight_smile: Even harder is to understand the principles behind how it works. I remember when I was young working on my mini-bike engine, and the spark plug wasn’t sparking. I tried to figure out how in the heck a spinning flywheel with magnets could cause a coil to make the spark at the spark plug. It was magic to me. Learning how that ignition system actually fired that plug would take me YEARS to learn. I still don’t understand it completely, down to the magnetic field and electric field. It boggles the mind!

Spending so much time learning a subject, only to have it go obsolete is disheartening. I spent so much time learning new things, and it took so long to learn them, only for the knowledge to be obsolete.

Computers are a great example. I started learning computers when MS-DOS was the operating system. I was so wrapped up in learning MS-DOS that I spent hours, days, months, and years learning that crap! What use is that information to me now? ZILCH! Totally useless information that I spent a decade learning. Same in automotive technology. I spent my entire life trying to learn the new systems, and keep up with the Jones, all for not! Pretty soon there won’t even be a internal combustion engine in production. It feels like a wasted lifetime of knowledge is down the drain.

Knowledge is only good if you have an application for it. Spending so much time learning a subject, only to have it be useless information a short while later feels like a waste of time.

It gets harder and harder to learn new technology, and now it’s to the point where the new systems coming out like smart phones and autonomous vehicles would be a waste of time learning. Just throw it away and buy another one if it breaks, and forget about ever knowing how it works, or how to fix it.

I think I’ll sit on the deck and watch the world go by, and listen to the birds chirp!

I sympathize, but useless?

Underneath all the fancy programming languages is Dos. The Dos command prompt remains in all Windows versions.

Nothing learned is wasted. The joy it brought to you while learning will always bring fond memories. How are happy memories bad?

Plus, old stuff was built to last. Modern stuff is mostly junk that needs replacing more frequently than it should, but you already know that.

If you don’t use it you lose it.

I’ve forgotten most of what I learned about MS-DOS. I never use it anymore, no need to.

Sure, I very rarely open up a dos prompt and type a command within Windows, but Windows days are numbered too. Point and click is where it’s at.

Windows itself is a good example. How long does it take you to learn a new version of Windows, only for that version to become obsolete and the new version coming along, which you have to spend time learning.

It’s wasted time spent learning if you don’t use it, and then eventually forget it.

In order to maintain that knowledge you have to keep using it and spend MORE TIME maintaining it. Why would I want to waste more time on maintaining knowledge that I don’t use?

I’ve forgotten more than I know.

I’d say, that if any knowledge learnt was useful at some point in time, then time spent learning it was definitely not a waste of that time.

I’ve forgotten much of Advanced/Higher Maths and near-all of Latin, but kept up-to-date on the Sciences and Humanities, and even read-up on new topics of interest. Learning exercises the mental and so keeps the mind and memory alert and flexible etc., so it’s not an endeavour done in vain.

Oh… and I’ve forgotten how to read sheet music, which is pretty soul-crushing… tho I can still write it, oddly enough.

It’s useful if you use it, but a waste of time if you don’t use it. Combine that with forgetting it if you don’t use it, and it’s a total waste of time! LOL

“All we are is dust in the wind.” Kansas


That is true. Exercising your mind keeps it very active and makes it more likely to learn new ideas quicker. It’s not a lazy couch potato, it’s a fit athlete if you exercise it regularly.

But the best exercise is puzzles, or figuring stuff out. Actively challenging your mind to give it a good workout. Knowledge is kind of a side effect of that.

My point was the enjoyment you obtained while learning.

Skills seem to repeat themselves much like history.

Memory loss is a bummer, but silver lining, relearning is quicker the second time around, if such skills are needed again.

Some learning is enjoyable, some not so much. You can learn a lesson, the hard way. Not so enjoyable.

I spent 20 years in the Army learning things that I did not enjoy learning, but was required to learn.

I have 20 years of information that is useless to me. I learned an entire logistics system that is useless to me now. I learned computer systems, supply systems, maintenance systems, and on and on.

Totally useless to me now. Civilians don’t use military vehicles! They don’t use The Army Maintenance Management System.

What I disliked was having to learn and sit exams, for subjects that both I and my teachers knew that I would never use… but I did use most of them at various points in time, during my career. Calculus, in Design… programming knowledge, when having to project-manage web-builds etc.

…for we are dust, and to dust we shall return. Genesis 3:19, the Bible. : D

…which is why I enjoyed reading your Maths threads …it inspired me to look-up information, now forgotten. I felt like I was in Maths class all-over-again. : D

Well said. Does watching murder-mysteries count? : D

On a scale of one to ten? No! :mrgreen:

Marple, Poirot, Lewis, Grantchester… a lot of thinking goes on when watching such shows, and they have great musical scores too.

QI and Mastermind are best for brain-training tho…

I was joking.

I used to do Sodoku puzzles. They are a good workout. If you do them in pencil you’re guessing! :wink:

Interacting with people on science and math boards is a good workout. It forces you to think, or be defeated! LOL

I knew you were (jk) : )

I would expect that One would get better and quicker at Sudoku, over time? recognisable patterns etc…

Ha, yes… Maths threads will definitely test One’s mental acuity. I’ve started following an Indian Maths account on Instagram, where long and complicated sums are quickly arrived at by way of diagonal adding… it feels like cheating tho, as it’s so easy… but at least you know you’ll always be right. : D

You get better at Sudoku over time by getting smarter. There is no patterns, there are different difficulty levels, the more difficult the less information is provided.

You get smarter by understanding how to eliminate possibilities so that it can only be 1 correct answer. It’s hard to describe.

I developed several different methods of finding the correct answer. Once you develop sure thing methods you can work your way through the puzzle, even at the most difficult levels.

By process of elimination… I get you. I tend to use the method for problem-solving and such…

So more about memory than patterns? I might try a few puzzles, and see how I go.

Neuroplasticity is the new concept, in learning and mental health… I attended an online talk on it last week… lots of innovative methods being implemented.

Nope, not memory. I have the worst memory. I think because I don’t rely on it, never have. I process information like a processor rather than trying to recall something off a hard drive.

Memory is the hard drive.
Processing information is the CPU.

I have a GREAT CPU, and only a 10 meg hard drive. LOL

I think the first thing to spend the time to learn so as to not waste as much is what the second thing should be. :smiley:

Scrabble anyone? I love playing Scrabble.

Scrabble is kind of a memory type of game. You have certain letters and you search your memory with different configurations of those letters to come up with a word that is already in your memory.
You can learn new words from other people’s words, but the words you play are in your memory, and you simply recalled them.

Learning new ideas or “figuring stuff out” is not in your memory. You do not have that information in your memory, you “figure it out” and it is placed into memory as a new memory.

Sudoku requires you to “figure it out.” Having a good memory won’t help you in that game. You can be a math wizard, educated to the highest level, and suck at Sudoku, because it is not information you already have.
It is “figuring it out”, which is not in memory, and can not be learned in a classroom.