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  • I think the most important thing that I have learned is that there's more to learn.

  • That we should -- that we should all be hungry for a lifetime. I mean, for example, at my next birthday I'll be 68.

  • All the great scientific discoveries made by all the great geniuses were largely made

  • when they were in their 20s and 30s. And yet I became, about two years ago, obsessed

  • with particle physics and I was determined to understand it before I died.

  • I could not have done that if I hadn't learned to read when I was young. If I hadn't had the opportunity

  • to study science courses in my high school, and I lived in the second poorest state in the United States,

  • which most people my age in my state did not have.

  • I happened to go to a bigger high school with people who

  • understood we had to get good science and math teachers there.

  • And if I hadn't gone to, in my case, Georgetown University, which was a Jesuit University,

  • and I hadn't been subject to the kind of rigors that the Jesuits imposed which made me realize

  • that however much I thought I knew and however smart I was I didn't know very much and I

  • wasn't very smart. I had a lot to learn.

  • So that's the most important thing I learned, that your brain is a gift.

  • And we now know that people well into their late 60s and 70s can form new neural networks.

  • So that even though your brain begins to shrink in your 30s, and does throughout your life,

  • since none of us ever use even close to half of our brainpower we got a lot left.

  • And we will on our last day on earth we'll have a lot left.

  • So, the idea that we now know, as a scientific measure because of all the brain scanning

  • technology that we can form these networks and that we form them best, we're most likely

  • to form new neural networks later in life by learning something new.

  • So if -- I said I was interested in particle physics and also in astrophysics and I'm trying to figure out

  • what it means that we've located 20 planets outside our solar system in the last five years

  • that seem to have enough density and be far enough away from their suns that they

  • might be able to support life. That may be the answer to the Russia Ukraine problem;

  • an attack from outer space will immediately unite us all.

  • Members of Congress in the U.S. will immediately start hugging each other and singing Kumbaya.

  • But anyway, I can form new neural networks doing that because I don't know anything about it,

  • or I didn't when I started. A theoretical physicist would do better going to Suzuki

  • piano lessons with his grandchild or her grandchild and just playing if you knew nothing about music.

  • But this is an incredible thing that the most important thing I learned is that

  • it's important to keep on learning. That you should stay hungry and that the greatest gift

  • can be even as your body begins to fail if your mind's still working you need to use it.

I think the most important thing that I have learned is that there's more to learn.

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A2 hadn neural grandchild form learned particle

Bill Clinton on Lifelong Learning

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