The Unlearning Organisation LO9856

Dr Ilfryn Price (
Mon, 9 Sep 1996 17:14:17 -0400

Replying to LO9771 --

Responding, somewhat arbitrarily, to J.C. Leslie who said

>It occurred to me we could use double loop learning

I would say it was out of that comparison that the current enquiry

and to various people for whom 'unlearning' conveys nothing special, or
nothing distinct from the profound meaning they have for 'learning'. Mike
put that case eloquently when he said

>The Zen story "You can't fill a glass that is already full" does not
>refer to the nature of a brain/nervous system. There is no way to make
>such an entity "full" that anyone has discovered.

However, there are attitudes that call out, "I'm full and don't need/want
anymore". These cannot be added to.

This is not a matter of unlearning, it is matter of discovery - by
inquiry, shock, what-have-you - that the possibilities are far beyond
current attachments.>

Whilst I completely agree the literal truth of the second sentence I still
see the Zen story applying, for minds, both individual and organisational,
can be so full of, so attached to, what has already been learnt [or simply
acquired along with linquistic/ scholastic/ cultural/ organisational
tradition] that they are blocked to further learning.

Frank Billot put it well:

>gaining power over our various reresentations of the world

For me there is something more profound here than simply transformational
learning, or 'double-loop' learning. There is a recognition that our
'representations of the world' can imprison us if we do not 'gain power
over them'. For example, for many years I laboured under the 'learnt' [and
reinforced by embarassment over the years] impression of not being able to
dance. Recently, I decided that that was just a pattern that had me,
decided at some profound level. All of a sudden I was free to enjoy a
different relatedness to dancing. Nothing is forgotten. No correct state
is returned to, and no ladder of inference that I am conscious of worked
through. If something was unfrozen I was not aware of it. I simply
empowered myself over a representation of the world. Sounds simple but
such representations are frozen into the habits of thinking and languaging
that are all around us. What other ways are there to gain power over them?


Dr Ilfryn Price <>

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