Balance to the Force
When I was 16, I was asked by family friends to help them for a summer on their farm. On the border of Nevada and Utah, the farm was hundreds of miles from the city, near an old Pony Express trail. I ended most days viewing the most beautiful sunsets I have ever witnessed. I have since experienced exquisite sunsets in the South Pacific, the Caribbean, and dozens of other places which could not compare. The dust from the dry country roads, stirred by cattle trucks and harvesting machines, somehow amplified the colors in the dusk light. Sunsets are not what I most remember, however.
The family lived in a place so remote that no broadcast signals reached the farm. They couldn’t watch television or listen to the radio. So I listened to the three available albums on cassette tape: Blackout by the Scorpions, British Steel by Judas Priest, and Pyromania by Def Leppard. All I heard was a limited slice of hard rock during that hot summer of hauling hay, moving massive irrigation pipes, and repairing fences.
The takeaway is the way the music changed me. I don’t think it was inherently good or bad music, but it was limited. I forgot Mozart after a couple of weeks, then I eventually forgot about Van Halen. I started to believe that those three albums represented the entire culture of the world. Through being completely immersed, my worldview changed. I still laugh at myself when I think of my mindset shift that summer.
This can happen to self-learners. Because we study only what we want, we can insulate ourselves from variety. If you want to be educated, you must expose yourself to a variety of viewpoints, particularly those with which you disagree.