Is educating yourself much more difficult than being educated? Why? Is it just a motivation thing?

I hope that's OK to ask. Anyone who uses this site frequently probably has an interest in learning, and not just reading, about philosophy


For me being here is mainly about educating myself. That motivates the reading, but I don't know what motivates the interest in the first place.

Being educated puts one on a career path. Because of that I imagine being educated would be more difficult. There are expectations to meet. It is not as easy to stop showing up as it is to stop checking this site.

  • 1
    philosophy is interesting, i wouldn't over think that one ha
    – user38026
    Aug 30 '19 at 10:17
  • @another_name Good point. Aug 30 '19 at 11:37

Both methods are useful in their time and place but I believe when it comes to philosophy you have no choice but to educate yourself. Guidance is helpful, but you need to be free to pursue your own interests and not be forced to follow someone else's agenda. Indeed. I'd predict most students would do better if they sat at home and didn't go to lectures. After all, these days we have the internet.

As for motivation, if this is lacking I doubt any method will work.

Speaking from experience, I will be eternally grateful I didn't study philosophy at university.


Everyone educates themselves. 'Being educated' merely means entering a context in which someone else structures one's self-education: useful for people at the beginning of their path, but ultimately a context that has to be abandoned before it becomes constricting. That is easier, sure, but less fulfilling.

People who don't have an interest in educating themselves will learn nothing no matter what educational context they are put it. People who want to learn will learn regardless. Half of a teacher's job is getting students interested in self-learning; the rest is giving students things to learn.

There's a vast difference between 'knowing' something and 'understanding' it. Knowledge can be force-fed through mere repetitive exposure, but no one understands anything unless they take the time and effort to think about it on their own. Facts of life...


Having your education directed has this advantage: since you are not educated, you have not been educated in what is worth your while to study. Hence, you may waste time, or worse, study erroneous matters and have to unlearn it if you are to progress at all.

The downside is that, of course, direction will direct down the common path.

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