This is both why it is so hard to learn and understand new concepts and paradigms, and why it is critical to our growth that we continue to do so. Nowhere is this more perfectly illustrated than in a podcast interview I recently listened to with Luzer Twersky, a young Hasidic man who left his culture and religion at the age of 22. It’s a compelling story, but the thing that really struck me was his vivid explanation of what it was like to strike out in the world as a young adult who knows nothing except what he learned in his cloistered upbringing in a sect that prides itself on knowing as little as possible about the modern world.
It’s both funny and heartbreaking, but I was mesmerized by his honest description of setting out on his own having never seen a movie or television, barely able to read and write English, and having no education except the Torah. As soon as he left his parents house, he got a DVD player, went to Blockbuster, and began watching movies in his car, hiding from his community. He was hungry to learn – the world was a complete mystery to him, but he was determined to try and understand it.
This is the hunger we can never lose, because the minute you lose it is the minute you begin dying.