1: does age actually make learning more difficult or is it a matter of will
2: is the internet and its vast store of knowledge likely to make older people more likely to continue learning
3 (bonus!): "use it or lose it"-does it always apply or can you learn something well enough that you will retain that knowledge regardless of use.
Non condensed version
Is the fact that you rarely see people beyond about 35 obtaining further education a matter of inability or are they just content to live with what they already know? Is the fact that my mother who is 52 today is within months of achieving a PHD a fluke? I guess in summary of that whole concept what I'm asking is whether I should get to learning while the getting's good.
Secondly: how do you believe the Internet currently does or in will in the future affect this usual lack of middle aged learning? For instance, I'm a generally curious person. When I run across something of interest be it related to anything within the scope science, the humanities, art, or any other topic I immediately run to Wikipedia and if that fails to satisfy I google it to find a deeper explanation. I have no plans of ever stopping this. It might not provide the kind of understanding i could obtain with a formal education in the subject but it tends to form a basic understanding. Older generations didn't have access to the wealth of knowledge and sonmay have been less inclined to look up topics they don't already understand. The current generation of people older than roughly 60-65 are still less likely to use the Internet. So then, as current generations age do you believe the Internet will increase the amount of continued learning beyond school or will they, like their predecessors eventually deem even such readily available knowledge too difficult to actually learn to be worthwhile?
Finally a smaller sort of question: do you believe the idiom "use it or lose it" applies to all knowledge or do you believe that it depends on how well the subject was learned at the time. Obviously if you learn a subject only as a cram session before an exam you'll forget it within a semester, but if you were, say, a chemistry student because it legitimately interested you and this learned the subject out of pure interest would you still remember it 50 years later even though you ultimately became a folk singer?