Life is a precious gift tucked deep in the recesses of a lotus flower, whose petals we tenderly peel back at the dawn of consciousness. At this point we have not yet spoken our first word, nor do we even understand the significance of being able to do so. And yet man is born with an innate ability to comprehend everything in the universe, outside any attempts by others to teach him.
I have been turning this last idea around in my head for a few months now.
Consider for a moment the image of an infant boy sitting in front of a set of toys. The infant, through observation, knows that there are three blue cubes and four red pyramids on the floor in front of him. He simply has not yet been taught how to use the verbal symbols created by man to communicate about these aspects of reality. Our brain and senses give us all the tools we need to perceive the world around us. (This argument does not even fall apart in the case of a blind child, for he has still been blessed with the ability to touch the world around him in a process of inventory). What happens in institutions of learning, then, is a refining of basic worldly concepts. A word is attached to each unit of reality so that the range of topics known to mankind can be explored in greater detail through collective interpretation.
We have been placed on Earth in a body that has the ability to comprehend vastly complex notions, and then communicate them. Interacting with others in the process of learning is an essential part of human life, but we must not lose sight of the truth that enveloped us at our birth. The quality of our learning process and the heights to which the exploring mind can soar are not contingent upon an external mind to transmit them to us.
In every moment, every single moment of an entire life, there is an opportunity for learning. Tucked in each instant is a small wisdom to be absorbed in the mind. (The point of this post is not to provide you with examples of what can be taken from each moment of life; the beauty of it is that it is for you to decide). The value of a lifetime spent attending to these small truths is that the passage of time will naturally weave a thread through each one, painting the picture of wisdom. It is our duty as conscious beings to harness this power first for ourselves in our individual absorption of reality, and then to use the tools of communication to contribute to life on this planet.