I Don’t Know What That Means

by Emily Jasper on April 9, 2010

When did we stop good-old-fashioned learning? Yes, we pick up business skills and lessons from life experiences, but when was the last time you picked up a text book or academic journal?

I’m always late to the party when it comes to tv shows. That is how I discovered Bones this week. I have always known Bones was around, and I LOVE the Deschanel sisters (plus, sharing the name Emily), but because “Angel” was on, I thought that it might be a short-lived life-after-Buffy flop.

So yes, I’m late to the party. And I’ve missed a lot.

The amount of nerdy goodness in this show is insane. Most of the people I know through the blog communities are self-proclaimed nerds, geeks, dorks, and well, any other word that might describe intellectual awkwardness. Now enter the character Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan, my new female socially awkward hero. I’ve only gotten to see a little from season one, but her tag line in most episodes is, “I don’t know what that means.” Pretty much all pop references are lost on her.

In watching this show, I get the impression that it’s ok to be an expert in a specific field and not maintain complete knowledge of the rest of the world. You are limited by not what you know, but whether or not you are willing to learn. And the squints (aka scientists) are all about the learning.

If you aren’t tied to the academic world, when is the next time you’re going to need to study something? Will it be grad school? A new job in a different industry? When your kids need help on homework?

I feel like we’re not learning the same way we used to anymore. We often say, “I don’t know what that means,” and then that’s the end. If you’re really interested, you could take the next step and check out Wikipedia, but that’s only rough summary.

And are we learning only what applies to our jobs? What about outside interests? I admit that I’m not likely to learn how to do repairs around the house; I’m not a do-it-yourself kind of girl. I probably won’t pick up a chemistry book for fun, and I don’t know the last time I really delved into historical references.

Are we still learning? Is there something we can do to keep our brains from turning to mush? Are there ways we can connect to our geeky selves?

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