Learning to Unlearn: The Journey Inward

Learning to Unlearn: The Journey Inward

“The longest journey is the journey inwards of him who has chosen his destiny, who has started upon his quest for the source of his being.” – Dag Hammarskjold

We spend our lives gathering knowledge, integrating facts, figures and techniques into our view of the world. By the time we reach our mid-twenties we’ve accumulated a significant body of knowledge that we can use to solve a wide range of problems. We’ve also accumulated our own predilections and prejudices, based on our genetic heritage: deep seated knowledge that is virtually impossible to shift. Some are based on the cultural traditions from the environment which we were raised, others on our personal history.

Anytime we’re attempting to learn something new, this new thing is measured against what we already know. If we put more weight on what we already know, on tradition and our inherited past, then it will be harder to learn the new. The standard which new learning is measured against will be tougher, and we’ll be less willing to set aside our existing assumptions and accept new knowledge if it contradicts what we already know. If we put more weight on what we’re seeing today – on new data – then learning something that conflicts with our assumptions will be comparatively easier, as we will place more weight on what we see than what we remember and we’ll be more willing to change our assumptions.

Our nature – our bias towards an inward focus based on tradition and the past, or an external focus on what we’re seeing around us – cuts across age. Those of us who are willing to question our assumptions will find that we can unlearn (and relearn) at any age. Those who put more weight on what they already know will struggle to change at any age. Today’s digital native will be tomorrow’s digital dinosaur if they are unable to unlearn.

Taking in information on all levels, mind, body and spirit. Not resisting, not expecting, not judging, but allowing; removing previous ideas about who you are. One will come to realize that true learning is unlearning.

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Thank you for reading!

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