Sure, people think it’s a good idea to learn Greek. But of course they would when you put the question that way. It’s a good idea to learn all sorts of things. The problems come when you try to determine relative goods. Is learning ancient Greek more valuable than learning calculus?For the last few years I’ve made a conscious decision to work on retrieving some of my lost math and science knowledge, primarily in order to facilitate my understanding and use of computers. But this has been a fairly rough road, in part because of many years of exercising my mind in other ways, but also because the computer science world is generally not friendly to beginners/newbies/noobs. Even in some of the polite and friendly responses to my comment on this Snarkmarket post you can sense the attitude: “I just don’t have the time or energy to be introductory.”Maybe I’ve just been unlucky, but with a few notable exceptions, that’s how it has gone for me as I’ve tried to learn more about computing: variants on “RTFM.” I think this response to learners happens when people think that their own field is the wave of the future, and like the idea that they’re among the few who realize it — as Neal Stephenson once put it, they’re the relatively few Morlocks running the world for the many Eloi — and don’t especially need any more company in the engine room. Whereas classicists like Mary Beard are advocates for their fields because they are pained by their marginality. Maybe I should be pursuing Greek instead of Ruby on Rails. . . .But wait! Just as I wrote and queued up this post, I came across an interesting new endeavor: Digital Humanities Questions and Answers. Now this might restore one’s hopefulness!