On Sun, 21 May 1995, Michael McMaster wrote:
> I would say that learning is an _integration_ of new material with
> existing material. That is, we don't "learn" anything that is
> unconnected and unrelated to the existing body of knowledge (or the
> existing patterns like standing waves) that we already are.
Might we call these existing patterns our "mental models" or something
like that? And if we are not sensitive to someone's existing pattern,
are we likely to be able to "teach" them anything?
This certainly reminds me of Piaget and his notions of "assimilation" and
"accommodation" and suggests that perhaps a crucial strategy to enhance
learning is to encourage the linking or relating process to occur. It is
not as important that the "correct" link occur, but that some link (and
preferably many!) occurs to expand the mind, heart, intellect (or whatever
one wishes to call the capacity). That may be one of the real disasters of
our educational system--at the earliest and most important levels, we
stress "being" correct at the cost of encouraging learning and creativity.
And what we seem to need more and more in this "post-modern world" is the
ability to learn and be creative! What a revolution it would be if we were
more willing to allow children to find out for themselves how "correct" or
"useful" or "rewarding" or "enjoyable" their learnings are. Change might
then be more a process of growth, of changing perspectives, of "letting
go" than of clinging on to and resistance.
> Phillip goes on to say:
> > And to change always involves abandoning some
> > cherished part of our existing identity.
> This, I think, is not the case. I would venture that we _never_
> abandon any part of our identity. Our whole history is embodied in
> our current standing wave (being). Even that which is apparently
> lost - in action, in memory, in specifics - is still a part of the
> current structure that is me.
I would agree, but I would also acknowledge our "fear" or reluctance to
change is often because we _assume_ some critical loss of ourself or our
> The question of identity - and resistance to change - is that we have
> mis-identified the nature of our own being (identity) and we attempt
> to cling to something that is a part of us. That is, we attempt to
> cling to what is already part of us and will never let us go. This
> action of forcing what already is, binds us in ways that inhibit the
> open integration processes of learning.
Ah, yes!! So many stories come to mind from the Buddhist tradition that
speak to that very point. It is our blindness or ignorance of our very
nature that keeps us from achieving "enlightenment" (or could we say fully
entering into and engaging with the world without inhibition?). Many
seekers have been bopped on the head for failing to see the Buddha-nature
Your comments, Michael, provide a marvelous "link" in my mind to the
spiritual concepts of surrender, compassion, attention, acceptance, etc.
and their implications for personal and organizational learning. The
ancient traditions did not endure this long without practical relevence
for all ages.
Thanks for the "connection".
-- Tobin Quereau firstname.lastname@example.org