My experience with learning came from being born into this world, as a
refugee, as a manager, continuing on through my school work. Recent
inquiries and dialogues about learning prompted me to write in hope that
I can somehow contribute to our "knowledge bank", by offering another cultural
perspective. Here are my thoughts:
real learning takes place when the self is free of greed. What we are
doing here is all for the self, we participate in this discussion to
accumulate our knowledge and better ourselves, in one way or the others.
We do this to GAIN. We are still trying to figure out the look and feel
and implementation of learning. we are still driven by our five senses .
you only truly learn in the deepest sense of learning when you have no
stake in the situation or the ourcome ..when this happens, the self will
be used only as a medium to observe, but does not give you any bias
direction which may interfere with learning.
we must accept the fact that we are not all created equal. some are
sages, some are idiots. We all have different parents, sibblings,
genes... and the reproduction process does involve CHANCE. with that in
mind, there will never be a learning definition for the human race, that
includes corporate america. in underdeveloped countries such as mine,
learning is a very personnal thing and was not forced upon the population
until the French came over 100 years ago. With that, came the compettion,
the measurement, and the true learning as defined by nature stopped, and
the new "thing" that we called learning started. It is sad to say that
once this is started, you can not stop it nor go back to the old days.
You're tained. Learning in the modern world goes well with greed. I
learn more so I can either be more respected or make more money or so that
I can talk the language or subject that others can't, so I can have a
An incident occured last year when I went home that made me think more
about how learning occurs. After twenty years away from home, I went home
to visit my mother. Living conditions are bad. The first night I was
there, after I laid down to sleep, i looked up at the ceilling and saw a
few gekkos. I was terrified. The gekkos, however, were just there, going
about their business. I had this fear that they would drop and land on my
body. the next day, i asked my mother for a rubberband. she got very
suspicious "why do you need one" she asked. I told her that I wanted to
get the gekkos, they should not be allowed to romp around the ceilling
like that. My mother simply said to me "the gekkos live here permanently,
you're only being here on a visa". She said it with love and a firm tone,
walked away, and i never did get any rubberband. one simple statement from
a 76 year old woman taught me more about humanity and learning than my
twenty years reading books, getting a degree in OD and so on. because at
that moment, the self with all the ambitions and greed was absent, and the
only naked self was there to receive.
western culture equates learning to power and wealth, and that leads to
competition all by itself. in our culture, learning carries the same
connotation as wisdom. knowledge comes from education and training, it is
the human doing. learning comes from living, and wisdom is never
associated with wealth or power, it is the human being. . we put people
in catagogies here, and we rate them and we dehumanize them.
people with wisdom don't neccessarely want others to know or to come to
them, but people with knowledge do. the next time when you see someone
who is quiet, mind their own business, makes very little money, has a low
level job in corp, you may want to think twice about passing him/her by
without asking for his/her opinion.
knowledge can be aqquired from others, learning can only be aqquired from
within. knowledge is external, like a bank. you deposit money in it,
accumulate it, and it does yield interest. we have mistaken that
"interest" as learning. but it is not. when a child is born, learning
begins. when the child enters school, knowledge begins. Learning starts
with birth and ends with death. when we send our kids to kintergarden, we
open an intellectual bank account for that child. Depending on how much
you deposit, the interest will grow accordingly. But the interest is in
the same currency, just more of the same.
Wisdom carries a difference type of currency, and it does not come from the
bank of knowledge. you don't earn Yen in interest in US bank. You have to
exchange for it. meaning you have to give up something to exchange for other.
and just like we will never have ONE currency for the planet earth, we
will never have a learning way for everyone. it's all different, and it
all works. perhaps we should not try to analyze what works where and try
to apply it here. the challenge for western society is that we have
invested too much into one currency. how many of us are willing to give
up this currency, where the interest continue to mount, the social status
continue to rise, to trade for some unknown currency(and maybe unvalued
and unaccepted) by society. The worst (or exciting) thing is, we don't
even know where real learning will take us...it may even prompt us to
check out of this life... learning is not associate with emotion, like
fear or hope or anger or sadness or happiness but knowledge does.
learning is pure and simple, is intrinsic, is natural, can't be taught,
can't be valued, can't be measured. Is not owned by our head or our heart
or our soul but our whole being.
on expiration on degree:
degree can't have an expiration date. It is the validation of one's
effort and accomplishment. And that's why we have license. License has
expiration date, because license validates the knowledge.
phuoc-chau nguyen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Silicon Graphics, Inc.
"Chau Nguyen" <email@example.com>
Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <firstname.lastname@example.org> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>