Books and Learning


Dr Vasquez: "Headlines and soundbites allow us to select and reinforce the ideas we want to see and hear. Articles provide information; essays provide perspectives and ideas. Textbooks can simply provide organized information, as an assemblage of articles, or --if structured-- can provide complete systems of thought, allowing not simply for the transmission of information but for the transferal of intellectual structure, an integrated system of thought."

Emerson: "It is remarkable, the character of the pleasure we derive from the best books. They impress us with the conviction, that one nature wrote and the same reads. We read the verses of one of the great English poets, of Chaucer, of Marvell, of Dryden, with the most modern joy, — with a pleasure, I mean, which is in great part caused by the abstraction of all time from their verses. There is some awe mixed with the joy of our surprise, when this poet, who lived in some past world, two or three hundred years ago, says that which lies close to my own soul, that which I also had well-nigh thought and said. But for the evidence thence afforded to the philosophical doctrine of the identity of all minds, we should suppose some preestablished harmony, some foresight of souls that were to be, and some preparation of stores for their future wants, like the fact observed in insects, who lay up food before death for the young grub they shall never see."

Nietzsche: ""If this book is incomprehensible to anyone and jars on his ears, the fault, it seems to me, is not necessarily mine. It is clear enough, assuming, as I do assume, that one has first read my earlier writings and has not spared some trouble in doing so: for they are, indeed, not easy to penetrate. Regarding my Zarathustra, for example, I do not allow that anyone knows the book who has not at some time been profoundly wounded and at some time profoundly delighted by every word in it; for only then may he enjoy the privilege of reverentially sharing in the halcyon element out of which that book was born and in its sunlight clarity, remoteness, breadth, and certainty. In other cases, people find difficulty with the aphoristic form: this arises from the fact that today this form is not taken seriously enough. An aphorism, properly stamped and molded, has not been "deciphered" when it has simply been read; rather, one has then to begin its exegesis—its explanation, its extraction, for which is required an art of deciphering. To be sure, one thing is necessary above all if one is to practice reading as an art in this way, something that has been unlearned most thoroughly nowadays—something for which one has almost to be a cow and in any case not a "modern man": rumination—taking time to pause, to reflect, to consider...”

Conferences: The most expensive and least efficient way to access new information

Summary: Most of the time and effort and money invested in traveling to a conference has nothing to do with learning; we should consider the lack of learning efficiency, or learning inefficiency, and the massive costs in transportation, plus the residual carbon footprint

Air-travel leaves a huge carbon footprint

Article: Specific Climate Impact of Passenger and Freight Transport Environ. Sci. Technol., 2010

Calculator: carbonfootprint.com/

What time-money costs are involved in "going to a conference"?

  1. Trip planning: flight, hotel, car.

  2. Flight costs $750, car/taxi/shuttle $100,

  3. hotel at $150 per night for 3 nights

  4. Travel: packing clothes/computer/toiletries (.5-1),

  5. to airport parking (.5-1),

  6. check-in and waiting (.5-1),

  7. time spent passing security (.5-1),

  8. flight, (2-4 hours),

  9. finding/using taxi/shuttle/rental to hotel (.5-1)

  10. Care/sitting/supervision children/pets—$200 is common; not included in tabulation

  11. Searching for and buying food at new location: hassle, more expensive: estimated here at 1 hour per 2 days X2 (add $50 for travel/lost food)

  12. Not included here is social time and time spent at vendor’s tables where you may/not pickup glossy catalogs (mostly never read)

  13. Actual attendance at presentation = real value = this is the learning process and experience: how much are you paying per hour for CME—$100 per hour? Let’s assume $100 per hour for 16 hours. Of course, not all presentations are good, so some of the time is wasted.

  14. finding/using taxi/shuttle/rental to airport (.5-1)

  15. Return flight and security....

  16. to airport parking (.5-1),

  17. check-in and waiting (.5-1), security (.5-1),

  18. flight, (2-4 hours),

  19. UNpacking clothes/computer/toiletries (.5-1)

Conferences are good for meeting people, if that is the goal. If the goal is learning and mastering material, then books and especially video-supported books such as Inflammation Mastery or the two-volume version as Textbook of Clinical Nutrition and Functional Medicine are clearly the better use of time, energy and funds for learning.

VIDEO 1 hour: Introduction to the "Functional Inflammology Protocol" presented at the 2013 International Conference on Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine. This foundational protocol underlies all treatments and protocols detailed in Inflammation Mastery, 4th Edition.

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