What is Unlearning LO10162

John Zavacki (jzavacki@wolff.com)
Wed, 25 Sep 1996 05:02:59 -0400

Replying to LO10145 --

Donald Kerr looks for a relationship between metanoia and learning and
sites some interesting experiences:

> The question I have been trying to answer is, is learning the same or
> different from metanoia? How is learning different from enlightenment
> or revelation? Is learning a continuous process or can it be a
> discontinuous event or peak moment? If meta (above)noia (mind) is above
> the mind, how can it be learning?
> How does the process of learning differ from metanoic transformation?
> The reason I ask is I had a mystical peak experience with God in the
> form of a dream that was a revelation that deeply changed my perspective
> the moment I woke up. (I "unlearned" and old, deeply ingrained view very
> rapidly and a new one was "revealed"). I experienced a "similar"
> experience while sitting at Dr. Deming's 4-day seminar. I continue to
> have "similar" peak moments in smaller continual changes, like when I
> read the Fifth Discipline, a profound post on the LO, the Bible in a new
> light, etc.

In religious studies, East and West, when preparing the student for
enlightenment, many small threads are planted. The threads are links
through key ideas. When the student is ready (or the godhead is ready)
the flash of enlightenment links the threads into a web of new and deeper
understanding. It is the relationships among the facts and ideas which
change, the associative paths which reconnect. It is the gestalt which
ensues which changes our thinking and behavior.

Whether it is coming to a deep faith or a "profound knowledge", it is all
a change in the organizational structure of the brain. It is not (to me)
a case of unlearning. The case-based conclusions we made earlier may
still be valid, the knowledge used in the many (general) cases has been
transformed in the special case by the extralinguistic nature of the
mystical experience.

This part is different than Scott's special case of the kayak. Here, the
special case does not effect the general cases. You haven't "unlearned"
to lean away from a bullet or a punch because you've learned to lean into
a standing wave in order to have fun. You've learned a special case of
leaning behavior. Because it is different than the normal avoidance it is
necessary to practice it to create the proper response when encountering
the special case. This special case based learning is a new control
mechanism applied ONLY in the special case. The fun of leaning into a big
wave is not applicable to leaning into a big punch.

In the case of seeing the system in its relationship to a spiritual change
(or a strengthened belief or higher awareness of principles) many
behaviors are modified. You may lean into a punch (turn the other cheek).
Still, nothing is "unlearned". The whole has increased. More
relationships have been made. More information has been processed. Take
smoking or eating fat for examples of behaviors needing to be changed: do
we still know how to smoke once we break the habit? Do we still know the
effect of nicotine on the anxiety centers? Do we still remember the
tastes of fats? The knowledge remains, the behavior has changed. The
difference is that of cognition and behavior.


jzavacki@wolff.com John Zavacki The Wolff Group 800-282-1218

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>