This is a wonderful conversation between Maria Popova, creator of the wonderful Brainpickings site, which is frequently referenced on this blog, and Krista Tippett host of the On Being podcasts. I love listening to the On Being podcasts and this is one of the best. It’s an insightful conversation between two hugely generous, compassionate and intelligent people.
In keeping with what On Being is interested in, the conversation covers a range of topics; philosophy and design, physics and poetry, the intellectual and the experiential. As the On Being site puts it, “what it means to live a good life – intellectually, creatively and spiritually.”
Maria Popova on the acquisition of knowledge and meaning:
And I remember, there’s a really beautiful commencement address that Adrienne Rich gave in 1977 in which she said that an education is not something that you get but something that you claim. And I think that’s very much true of knowledge itself. The reason we’re so increasingly intolerant of long articles and why we skim them, why we skip forward even in a short video that reduces a 300-page book into a three-minute animation — even in that we skip forward — is that we’ve been infected with this kind of pathological impatience that makes us want to have the knowledge but not do the work of claiming it. I mean, the true material of knowledge is meaning. And the meaningful is the opposite of the trivial. And the only thing that we should have gleaned by skimming and skipping forward is really trivia. And the only way to glean knowledge is contemplation. And the road to that is time. There’s nothing else. It’s just time.There is no shortcut for the conquest of meaning. And ultimately, it is meaning that we seek to give to our lives.