I Am Still Learning

I am still learning
graphic © eminentlyquotable.com | photo – Wikipedia

“I am still learning.” -Michaelangelo at age 87

Michelangelo (1475 – 1564) is one of the greatest artists of all time and one of the towering figures who helped shape Western art in the High Renaissance period.

Before he turned thirty, he had already accomplished some of his greatest works such as the sculptures “Pieta” and “David”. He finished his iconic paintings at the Sistine Chapel at the age of 37 and he worked as an architect of St. Peters Basilica at 74 until the time of his death at the age of 89.

The assumption that old people can’t learn new stuff has already been debunked by science. Although cognitive decline is real, the brain adapts to it by using its other parts to perform visual thinking tasks, according to a study by Dr. Randy McIntosh at the University of Toronto. Although the brain activity of the old people in their experiment (60 – 79) performed much weaker in the common regions for tasks, other regions in their brains were activated. In other words, the white matter serves as a backup when the gray matter no longer works as it used to because of age.

The viability of an 87-year-old Michelangelo saying “I am still learning” is therefore backed by the recent studies in neuroscience. The brain is resilient enough to cope from aging. The only hindrance could be the brain itself when it stops believing in learning. To quote American industrialist Henry Ford: “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty of eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”

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