What is Unlearning LO10244

Fred Kompass (fkompass@voicenet.com)
Sun, 29 Sep 1996 15:54:16 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO10190 --

You speak of the concept of unlearning as originally presenting a threat
to a cherished part of your belief system. My view of this concept of
unlearning is somewhat related to a quote I believe is attributable to
Will Rogers. He said it isn't the things that we don't know that get us
into trouble; it's the things that we know that ain't so. From my
perspective the mistake we make to to reify our belief systems and our
ideas; that is, we make the mistake of misplaced concreteness, as the
Philosopher Alfred North Whitehead once said. We believe that our ideas
and our theroies are actually concrete realities. They are not. Ideas
and theories are ways of organizing our experience that make sense to us,
that help us deal with our experience. No theory is true. All are mental
constructs that are useful to us. That is, some of them are useful to us,
some are not or lose their usefulness. The problem is that when our
experience doesn't match up with our ideas or theories, we tend to believe
there is something wrong with our experience - my way of trying to change
this organization based on what I see is wrong with it isn't working
because the organization is resisting. We try to fit the organization onto
the Procrustean bed of our theories. Rarely do we see this "resistance" as
an occasion to re-examine our theories. To me, that re-examination of our
theory, of what we "know" to be true, of what we have "learned," is what
unlearning is all about

Fred Kompass
Renaissance Consulting Group, Inc.
Honey Brook, PA

At 06:20 AM 9/27/96 -0400, you wrote:
>>To me, "unlearning" implies the removal of tissue and connectivity.
>Sorry John. To me it does not any more than learning implies the addition
>of tissue.
>Learning for me occurs more like the acquisition of certain patterns of
>connectivity in the mind, out of which we then act and perceive.
>Unlearning implies for me gaining freedom from our attachment to those
>patterns. If others want to call that a high order of learning it is fine
>by me. I am more interested in the process than the definition.
>When I was first offered by a colleague less attached to the word
>*learning* than most of us on this list, the word *unlearning* I also
>found it unecessary -or perhaps even a threat to a cherished part of my
>belief system. It took me the best part of a year to recognise how, in
>reacting that way, I was attached to and stuck in a certain meaning I
>attached to learning. I acknowledge that the attachment may be less strong
>for others who may have gained more mastery in their own learning and
>merely ask that they recognise that unlearning works for some.
>Dr Ilfryn Price <101701.3454@compuserve.com>


Fred Kompass <fkompass@voicenet.com>

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