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The soul of learning

How much can be learned? It is not how much you learn that is important, but how much you honor the position of learning in what you are doing. You must know, to feel your intuition, but you must not trust your knowing as something that can be imparted to someone else. You transfer your knowing into the work you do, and that is your best character.

Everybody is not equally talented. They are all marvelous, yes, but not equal. There is no person without talent. Talent prevails everywhere, but the question is in what way your singularity can blossom, because you cannot learn anything that is not part of yourself. Many of you have learned physics, I am sure, and passed every examination, and you don't know a word of it. That happened to me. I copied the notes of the boy next to me because he could both listen and write. If I listened, I could not write. I I wrote, I did not listen -- The teacher might have said to me, "Louis Kahn, it is important you learn physics because you're going to be an architect. But I would rather you don't take notes. Just listen. You will be examined, but I will ask you to draw physics for me." And I would have surprised him. It would be my forte, my way, and therefore it must not be disturbed. If you are crowded with that which does not belong to you, you will forget it; it will never be with you, and you will lose the sense of your worth.

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I revere learning because it is a fundamental inspiration. It isn't just something which has to do with duty; it is born into us. The will to learn, the desire to learn, is one of the greatest inspirations.I am not that impressed by education. Learning, yes. Education is something which is always on trial because no system can ever capture the real meaning of learning.


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