The guiding principle to empiricism is that nothing is to be achieved in the intellect unless it is first understood in sense. While this might appear as a philosophical connotation, it actually alludes to the fact that the precursor to attaining knowledge is to have love or interest in a topic, and even if one should prefer to stick to the philosophical aspect of empiricism then the word philosophy itself is a combination of philos and sofia, which means love for knowledge. What then does it mean to love a subject?
If a man claims to love a subject, then he needs to know about it more than the average man, so that to speak of it must leave the average man impressed. If he cannot impress the average man then he cannot claim to love it, for to love amounts to yearn to know more about it, which leads to its study, by which means his endeavour is self-justifiable. We can therefore say that to love something leads to having a deeper than average understanding of it, and if one knows not then he loves not. And this is not the kind of knowledge that is achieved on academic grounds, for academicians are expected to know, and knowledge based on professionalism cannot, unless in very minor cases, be assumed to amount to love for a subject. In this regard, it is the individual who learns personally, (which is the best form of education) who can be attested to have love for something, which doesn’t mean, however, that he cannot go to class and acquire initial or more knowledge in the area. But even if he does so, the real difference will still lie in what he learns personally, for anything else is academics, which anyone can be taught.
Some of the greatest achievers in history such as Ernest Hemingway, Abraham Lincoln, Charles Dickens, Henry Ford, Charles Darwin and Steve Jobs among many others were either partly or not educated in their respective fields, but because they had the love for their subjects they have ended up becoming household names. Allow me in this case to mention two names specially: Frank Lloyd Wright, architect of Fallingwater, a house considered among the best buildings in American architecture and Gustave Eiffel, engineer behind The Eiffel Tower and who also contributed in designing The Statue of Liberty. These two people, despite their distinguished contribution to the world of design and engineering are actually self-taught. But even then, to perform in an area needs knowledge, and knowledge cannot be gained without study. All of the people that I have mentioned, despite lacking formal training, it is their pursuit of knowledge that really sets them apart. Mr. Jobs for instance, seeing his son’s love for electronics gave him part of his bench to fix broken electronics and as he grew up and got more interested in computers, Steve ultimately dreamt of working at Hewlett-Packard, and when he finally got a job there he gave it his all, even though the actual job was fixing screws onto computers.
I conclude as I study another piece by a Japanese autodidact called Tadao Ando, who designed a House in Sri Lanka for Pierre Pringiers, the Belgian who supplies more than 40% of industrial tires worldwide, and as I look at Tadao’s definition of ‘airy architecture’ the typical question keeps coming back: would Tadao be able to design like this if he went to school to study architecture?