Maybe lifelong learning can be best conceptualized as a way of engaging with people and with ideas and that naturally mediates a particular epistemic attitude; that attitude being a loving, non-attachment toward one’s appraisal of knowledge and the process of learning. In other words, learning is a good in itself, uncompromised by the irrational desire to see “oneself” in a certain way.
We desperately act in ways that are less and less driven by our real values, and that are increasingly driven by our need to be valued. Maybe that anxious, phrenetic energy undermines our ability to stop, reflect, and think. Maybe the best way that we can do to functionally manage is to seek refuge in the comfort of categorical simplicity and binaries: of dramatic hero-villain narratives.