Oscar Wilde famously said that “You can never be over-dressed or over-educated” and the words still ring true today. Learning is one of the greatest pleasures in life and although the school can sometimes make it seem like a duty, it is really a treat.
During COVID, self-education, or “autodidacticism”, is an opportunity to enrich your inner life even if you are confined to your home.
The great thing about self-learning is that motivation comes by itself as long as you are curious about a subject. Simply pick something you are interested in and learn more about it.
If you are looking for inspiration or interesting resources, below you will find some helpful sources.
Regarding online self-education, large sites such as Master Class and Skillshare are great tools for learning more about your interests. For example, if you are interested in cooking the Master Class of Massimo Bottura is a must-watch, where the great chef shares his passion for cooking and appreciating great ingredients.
Language learning is one of the most enriching forms of self-education. A new language will allow to connect more profoundly with new people and places. Furthermore, learning a new language is very little about learning grammar and mostly about learning about interesting topics in your target language.
For the first approach to a language, the application Duolingo is great. It will help you learn the basic words and phrases of a language in a playful way every day. Babbel is great for more advanced learners.
Reading a book in your target language, that you have already read in your own language, is a great way to start reading. Most literary classics and popular books like Harry Potter are translated in all major and minor languages and are a great place to begin.
This century has brought a new way of learning to curious people: Videos. There are an overwhelming plethora of videos on all topics, which is both good and bad.
YouTube is a special place on the internet that is equally helpful for procrastination and self-education. The key is to find the right channels with the great content you are looking for. If you are interested in the gentleman’s wardrobe, art, or philosophy, here are some of the best channels worth exploring.
For the art and science of menswear, there are two giants you should be familiar with.
Permanent Style is created by London’s elegant author Simon Crompton and the YouTube page is filled with helpful tips and debates about bespoke tailoring.
Sartorial Talks is the French counterpart hosted by Hugo Jacomet and is available both in English and French on YouTube if you are interested in practicing your vocabulary of French tailoring.
If you are interested in learning more about art, there are two great channels with two different approaches. Louisiana is a Danish museum of modern art and is very active online. They have great interviews with international artists in the beautiful green garden surrounding the museum. If you want a more practical approach to art, and perhaps an artist lies waiting inside you, the YouTube channel Draw-Mix-Paint is very interesting. Here you can learn how artists achieve paintings filled with life using classic techniques.
Lastly, if Philosophy is what occupies your thoughts YouTube can supply you with ample food for thought. If you are adamantly serious about studying philosophy, Yale University have published their Philosophy course, among many other interesting courses from the prestigious university. During 26 classes of 45 minutes each, the professor discusses the human condition from many different angles.
If you would like a more approachable and convenient way to study philosophy and enjoy the benefits of philosophy in your life, the channel The School Of Life is made for you. In short videos the modern philosopher Alain De Botton talks about the important lessons we can learn from great thinkers and how to apply them to your way of thinking.
If your interest was piqued by one of these topics then you are in for a treat. There is no better feeling that having your curiosity itch scratched by someone intelligent explaining something interesting.
In our day and age, and with a risk of confinement in the air, online self-education is a great friend to the curious mind. But the old-school way of broadening your mind is still very valid. An interest in literature can be enriching and if you have not yet had the pleasure of reading Oscar Wilde, why not start with The Portrait of Dorian Grey.