Understanding 12: Learning is Often About Unlearning

Our traditional educational practices have developed in us the false notion that learning is tedious and difficult, and happens only with much planning and ubiquitous reminders of consequence or rewards. We must give time and energy to the un-learning of these assumptions. Simply adding new external motivators on top of the old external motivators will only deepen the problem.

“Education consists mainly in what we have unlearned.” – Mark Twain

“To attain knowledge, add things everyday. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.” –Lao Tzu

  1. Learning and Unlearning A Personal Journey of an Intimate Relationship between Learning and Unlearning

There must be a time of day when the man who
makes plans forgets his plans,
and acts as if he had no plans at all.

There must be a time of day when the man who has
to speak falls very silent.
And his mind forms no more propositions,
and he asks himself:
Did they have a meaning?

There must be a time
when the man of prayer goes to pray
as if it were the first time in his life
he had ever prayed,
when the man of resolutions puts his
resolutions aside
as if they had all been broken,
and he learns a different wisdom:

distinguishing the sun from the moon,
the stars from the darkness,
the sea from the dry land,
and the night sky from the shoulder of a hill.

–Thomas Merton