I don't always have the discipline to read through all the posts on a thread because the original post inspires some response that I want to voice right away. I think this is my desire for recognition surfacing and trumping my desire to...well um...it is what it is...my desire learn. Now when a thread is extremely long then this is excusable but with shorter threads I don't think it is. So I'm calling myself out on this.
Anyway, this does bring up an interesting conflict...the conflict between the desire to learn and the desire for recognition. I think that the desire to learn is a desire of the higher order and the desire for recognition is of a relatively lower order. I think this conflict arises quite often especially in an environment such as a forum and also the environment of the classroom and edifying conversations in general.
Arrogance is at least a recognition of the divine, albeit in an imperfect, narcissistic form, so consumed by its own reflection that it fails either to reflect or transmit, and, blinded by what it supposes to be its own light, ironically cannot even recognise itself. (I speak as one who knows!)
I think that as human beings, creatures based very much on primitive thoughts and ideas, we're often curious. I don't think we have as deep a desire to learn as we do to recognize. We're driven to label things. Look at the beginning of language; We created a label for everything we could find. Fire for the bright burning stuff, water for the cold wet stuff, we weren't initially driven to learn about these things, we were just driven to name them, to title them, to subject them to a category and go about our lives, however I consider this all very primal, and I still don't think that human beings have made primal thought obsolete quite yet, despite how much we think we have. We've adapted ourselves to have a primal response to most situations, such as fight or flight, automatic protection of food or our mates, etc. An emotional response is a primal response, and thus, we're still very primal creatures operating on the gut rather then the intuitive part of the brain. Thus, being primal still, I feel that the desire we have to label and categorize and recognize is much stronger than any desire we have to learn.
There is something tricky about the word "recognize". One can recognize and one can be recognized. The original point of this thread was to question whether learning and being recognized as learned is the stronger motive. Which could be restated as recognizing vs. being recognized. You strike upon an interesting idea: recognition as being something different from learning...recognition as a labeling and defining vs. learning as understanding what is really there. And perhaps that is really where the answer should be sought. Is being recognized something different from being understood. I think it is.
There is a space between the recognizer and the recognizer but there is less space between the understander and the understood.
A question tangential to the OP: Is it perhaps the case that recognition is more attractive than understanding because it affords all involved some degree of privacy?