Beginner's mind LO7274

Dave Birren, MB-5, 608-267-2442 (
Fri, 3 May 1996 17:33 CST

I would like to open a dialogue on the subject of "beginner's mind", a
concept from Buddhism which I find is central to sustained learning.
Essentially (this is greatly Americanized and I ask anyone out there to
help me with it) it means that the more one knows the more one adopts a
stance of not-knowing. In other words, as we learn the "facts" we realize
how much of the essence of things we don't know. This is increasingly
humbling - I don't mean abasing or negating, but involving a quieting of
the ego, an opening of the mind, and a growing awareness of the scope of
our ignorance and the destructive power it has.

I know of this only through personal experience and spiritual searching,
and I'm interested in what people who know more about it, and about
learning processes, have to say.

Let's explore the idea that the more we know, the less we know ... The
more we try to deliberately change systems, the more we risk making messes
... The more we seek to understand about the total (societal, global,
cosmic) system of interdependencies, the less confident we become about
the efficacy of any particular action ... and whatever else comes up in
the process.

Quite some time ago there was a discussion on this list on the subject of
"not-doing". That thread might be good background for the dialogue I'm
proposing. [Rick - I can't remember when it was - maybe last summer or
fall. Could you possible provide an archive reference? My Web connection
is in an endless loop at the moment. Thanks.]

[Host's reply: David, I think the start of the long thread in May '95 was
your own msg...

Linkname: Learning-Org May 1995: Re: Not-doing LO1153

It was actually pretty easy to find, using AltaVista. ... Rick]

Humbly (to the extent that's possible),



David E. Birren Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources Phone 608-267-2442 Fax 608-267-3579

* ** *** There is no excuse for being uncivilized. ( D.H.Birren) *** ** *

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