Attending three weeks of courses at the University of Alberta, sponsored by the Edmonton Lifelong Learners Association (ELLA), was an exhilarating experience. It gave one a glimpse of the process that turns students into professionals.
But more importantly, the courses I chose broadened my view on issues that I have been interested in throughout my life. I listened to lecturers and participated in discussions on such subjects as: human relations and religion’s part in history; the views of ancient and modern philosophers with respect to the role of human nature as it affects social and economic structures; a better understanding of the history of the Middle East; and the challenges of reversing the ecological damage brought about by technological change.
Hearing and responding to the many lectures in such a short space of time proved to be both challenging and stressful, but I would not have missed it for anything. I feel my life has been enriched. A lecturer at one of the courses made a relatively simple statement that stood out in my mind. He said: “You should always look for the story behind the story.”
Considering the spin that we are often being exposed to, I view this advice as being especially timely. Looking for the story behind the story used to require a lot of time pouring through many books and/or publications. With the advent of the Internet, however, the task is now much simpler.