We say we want to learn from experience, but how about we also make some reasonable effort to NOT learn
As living creatures, it is unavoidable that we learn over the course of our experience. Even cats and dogs and insects learn from experience. We are all programmed and can be conditioned about food, for example, when it's meal time and where to find it. And the same goes for other things - we necessarily learn, all animals do. But what is it we learn? What works, what doesn't, the importance of insurance, many prudential things, things we need to learn, but also perhaps more bad than good in many respects.
It's nothing special to learn from experience, it's hard-wired in us as animals. But what about the value of NOT learning from experience, intentionally and consciously? After all, isn't that how we maintain any kind of idealism? By consciously refusing to learn what everybody else learns over time? An essential element of learning is changing one's behavior, not just cognitively registering some fact or observation about the world, but allowing that observation to change our behavior in response - that shows we've really learned. But the idealist has to perhaps more effortfully hold himself back from letting his behavior get changed in response to experiential data - he must stay his course, in spite of experience that bids him to learn and change. He must stay true to an idea, rather than data from experience, and must therefore NOT learn. There is the saying that the definition, or sign, of a madman is that he continues to do what doesn't work, or in other words, he REFUSES to learn, and he tries the same thing even after it has failed, repeatedly perhaps. But there is also the saying, 'Dance like nobody is watching, love like you've never been hurt, sing like no one is listening, and live like it's heaven on earth." Have you heard this saying? I saw it on a plaque on the wall of somebody's house, and it made me think. What is this really saying, but DO NOT LEARN!! Because what does life teach us? Just the opposite. Life teaches one to be cautious and prudent, because more often than not, and in more places in the world than not, for more people than not, life on earth is not heaven, somebody IS watching or listening when you happen to be doing something private, and I've heard it said that there are people in the world who have been hurt in love, supposedly. But the saying I've quote from the plaque on the wall urges us to NOT learn some very obvious facts, which facts gets hammered into nearly everybody almost every day, and which facts are therefore very hard NOT to learn, by necessity. But this saying is telling us to NOT learn these basic facts of existence. How hard is that to do? - to NOT learn from experience? Harder than learning, I think.
So perhaps the bigger challenge is NOT to learn, rather than to learn from experience. Even if we are lazy, we will learn by necessity, by conditioning, because there is the carrot and the stick, and if the carrot doesn't work, then the stick will, and we will learn from the stick of experience sooner or later, however lazy we are. But can we NOT learn despite the stick - can we REFUSE to learn, and hold on to an ideal, despite repeated smacks from that stick? Perhaps we should strive to do just that, to NOT learn, rather than to learn - because maybe the important things are rather NOT learned than learned.
11/17/2022 06:19:35 am
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