Information craze

Around fifteen universities now offer courses for free online through a medium called Coursera. No, no, it’s legit – you can take Stanford, Michigan, Princeton, UPenn, Hopkins and many more university classes for free!

It was while browsing the Duke University website that I learnt about this program because Duke participates in it as well. Read for yourself. There’s no academic credit for taking the course…it’s just for those who like to learn for the sake of learning 🙂

It’s kinda like Ted Talks right: Riveting talks by remarkable people sharing ideas worth spreading. What’s crazy is, once you watch a Ted talk, you’ve got to share what you’ve learnt with someone else! There’s no apparent merit in these talks other than the joy of sharing knowledge.

You think of Wikipedia…which, I think, is one of the greatest innovations of the 21st century! You could spend hours jumping from one article to another, garnering random information on stuff just for the sake of it.

What about the news? Whether it’s CNN, BBC, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, etc…We just read story after story. Sometimes what we read has some bearing on our life…most times, it’s just information that might make for interesting conversation later…

We haven’t talked about youtube, facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest, etc, etc, etc…All forums for knowledge acquisition! Even mediums like Audioverse can become no more than another interesting thing to talk about.

And for what? To what end do we gain knowledge? How does all our learning impact our lives? Or the lives of others? We are a knowledge saturated generation: ever learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. Lends credence to the Biblical assertion that knowledge shall be increased at the time of the end doesn’t it.

Perhaps the need for temperance extends to the realm of mental nutrition. Avoid that information that is lacking in nutritional value and indulge in moderation in that which edifies.

When are you an old maid?

After reflecting on my first post on being single, and listening to the feedback, I made some revisions to the NM singles section and figured it’d be good to follow up with more clarity.

It’s as impossible to define the parameters of Never-Married/NM singles as it is to find two identical cultures. That’s because marriage cultural norms vary greatly. Yet you find that every culture tags this label on some people at some point – that point being when you’re past “marriageable age.” But what is marriageable age?

In general, there is an increasing trend to marry later especially in societies that value formal education. For most, marriage before completing, at least your Bachelors degree, is out of the question.

And now, with education inflation, a Masters degree is just like a Bachelors…and you’re at least 25 before you’re seriously thinking about starting a family. What more if you’d like to get a PhD – better to get that out of the way before staying home to breastfeed.

My cursory survey indicates that Europe has the highest inflation of marriage age, whereas Africa has the least – I speak in generalities. Just yesterday I was speaking with a new friend from Germany who is in the US for an exchange program. She expressed surprise at how most people our age here are married with families (I’m 29, by the way). In Germany, she posited, it would be considered marrying young to marry at our age.

What a contrast to the general sentiment you’d find in an African setting. As a woman, you’re on the hill at 25 and definitely over it by 26. Most people would look with disdain on an educated woman who has no husband. Marriage at “our age” would be considered the mercy of God.

So you go to Africa and you’re over the hill: You go to Europe and you’re a spring chicken: You live in America and you’re right in the ball park. We may conclude that at my age you’re a spring chicken running down a hill in a ball park…but when are you a legit old maid? When do you qualify for NM status?

Maybe it’s when the society you live in decides you’re a basket case. Or when all the men you would ever consider marrying are already married. Maybe it’s when you start checking out the divorcees and widowers. Or when it’s all your parents and relatives can talk about when they mention your name.

When are you an old maid?
You know what…I don’t know!

Music

Music is a wonderful thing!
And by that I mean it is a thing of wonder…

When no words could express an emotion
Chopin’s nocturne captures it effortlessly.
The cascading notes whisper your true meaning
And though no-one else understands, you feel understood.

That’s because music is like capturing a feeling in a sound
So that the heart of one who appreciates it beats in harmony with the musician’s…
At least for that moment, you’re not alone in the human experience.

He is yet to fully embrace his humanity
Who is yet to appreciate good music.