Charles D. Hayes has been writing about the rewards of self-education for more than two decades. Self-study changed his life and his politics. This short essay expresses the essence of what he has discovered about the value of continuous learning. He shows how deficits in our current education system discourage people from thinking for themselves, leading to the social inequities and political polarization we’re witnessing today. Democracy is not a sport, says Hayes. We need thoughtful, educated, active citizens to preserve it. (3843 words)
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About the Author
Charles D. Hayes is a self-taught philosopher and one of America’s strongest voices in support of lifelong learning. Promoting the idea that education should be thought of not as something you get but as something you take, his work has been honored by the American Library Association and featured in USA Today, in the UTNE Reader, and on National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation. Hayes’ September University: Summoning Passion for an Unfinished Life has been described as a “must read” for anyone aspiring to a better world. His previous book, The Rapture of Maturity: A Legacy of Lifelong Learning, upholds the importance of seeking truth and serving others to achieve our full potential as human beings. Hayes spent his youth in Texas, and then served as a U.S. Marine and a police officer before embarking on a career in the oil industry. Alaska has been his home for more than 30 years.