The end of the world—a cataclysmic disaster that destroys all life as we know it—has gripped the popular imagination for millennia. Religions imagine it; believers wait for it; ethicists work to prevent it; and writers describe it, often in dramatic, adventurous detail.

And yes, unless our sun happens to find the fountain of youth during its whirling journey through the universe, one day it’s going to burp and fade away, swallowing our little, blue planet as it goes.

But the end, in a way, is nothing new. Studying ancient history reveals so many worlds that have already ended, having lasted for lengths of time I can’t even fathom before falling to dust, either by murder, wear or cataclysmic disaster, or sometimes simply by falling asleep.

Yet somehow in their deaths, they still survive. Bodies rise from the bogs, pyramids stand against the wind, centuries of once-living culture compacts into a single skull or pottery shard. To walk the beach is to tread on crushed remains from ancient oceans, of beings that once lived and died under the sun.

For me, courses are quite a lot like that—little worlds that rise and fall through the tides of a year or two, leaving parcels of information behind like all other leaky things in the universe. Sometimes it’s small things, amounting to barely an envelope; other times it’s a Pandora’s box that shifts the very ground on which I stand. In both cases, what I study greatly affects my thinking, and if you listen to me long enough (or pretty much at all) all these bits and bubbles will start oozing out into the conversation and coming alive again, like a virus or a once-dehydrated tardigrade.

Below is a list of all the subjects I’ve studied at a university level, along with the workshops I’ve attended and courses I’ve followed. It’s not entirely exhaustive; there’s a lot I read about outside of classes as well, but it’s a fairly good picture of what I’ve encountered on this tiny, blue planet as it saunters around the sun.

Applied Mathematics

Dynamics: Particles & Rigid Bodies


Vector Analysis







Biblical Studies

The Dead Sea Scrolls

New Testament

Old Testament

The Synoptic Gospels

Computer Science

C Programming

Object-Oriented Programming

Cultural Studies

Art History: Prehistory-Renaissance

English Language & Literature

International Studies

Japanese Culture & Religion

Latin America & the Caribbean

South African Literature

The United States Experience


Circuit Theory

Computer Systems

Electrical Energy Systems


Frequency Domain Techniques

Mechanics of Deformable Bodies



Orthographic Drawings

Systems & Signals


Christian Marriage

Moral Responsibility

Perspectives on Life & Death

Roman Catholic Social Thought

Theology of Reconciliation & Justice


Ancient Hebrew






Differential Equations and Linear Algebra

Differential & Integral Calculus

Series & Partial Differential Equations


Philosophy & Religion

The Church in the World

Christian Thought: Reformation-Modern

Classical Judaism

The Development of Western Thought

The Evolution of the Western Idea since the 17th Century


Jesus & Socrates: Faith & Reason

Marian Theology

Philosophy of Religion





Social Development

Grass Roots Organizing

Rural Development


Workshops & Additional Classes

Bread Baking


Seabird Rehabilitation

Silat: Malay Martial Arts

South African Sign Language

South African Wine


Online Subjects

Astronautics & Human Spaceflight

Avian Care & Medicine

Wine (global)


More About Tara