Many people give up on learning after they leave school because thirteen or twenty years of extrinsically motivated education is still a source of unpleasant memories.  Their attention has been manipulated long enough from the outside by textbooks and teachers, and they have counted graduation as the first day of freedom.

But a person who forgoes the use of his symbolic skills is never really free.  his thinking will be directed by the opinions of his neighbors, by the editorials in the papers, and by the appeals of television.  He will be at the mercy of “experts”.  Ideally, the end of extrinsically applied education should be the start of an education that is motivated intrinsically.  At that point the goal of studying is no longer to make the grade, earn a diploma, and find a good job.  Rather, it is to understand what is happening around one, to develop a personally meaningful sense of what one’s experience is all about.  From that will come the profound joy of the thinker…

–Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in Flow


1 thought on “Flow

  1. So according to Csikszentmihalyi, ideally, one should be intrinsically motivated.

    In other words, he tells us to do that which is acceptable only when it’s done without being told to do it.

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