How Do We Learn or Fail To Learn?


Learning is an effort driven by self-interest. You learn because you think it is good or fun, no matter how hard the process may entail. Nobody can force you to learn just like nobody can force a horse to drink. You will never bother to learn if you think it brings no benefit, even though it is a simple truth that you should know. That is why we have the open-mind and close-mind mentality that motivates learning. That also explains why some people learn quickly, and why some others never try.

We are born to learn because this capability resides in our genes for the sole purpose of survival. A baby at birth immediately knows how to cry and suck. Later, the young child learns to make sounds, crawl and walk. In growing up, the child learns to react, communicate, and adapt. The particular culture where the child is brought up teaches him/her how to behave and how to think. The time will come when the youngster begins to develop the faculty of reasoning. When a young person seriously asks why something has to work that way, he/she is finally ready to leave the orbit of childhood influence and molding, and will begin to learn and think independently.

For an adult to learn (or fail to learn), the innate self-interest still plays an important role except being tempered by many other complex factors. These include: curiosity, inspiration, infomercials, indoctrination, propaganda, idea suppression, shock, and even your own fear, ego and biases. These factors can bring a positive or negative effect. Positive means you learn the truth and move on to learn some more. Negative means you learn the untruth and get stuck with it, or you never learn new things outside of your comfort zone. Therefore, learning is not necessarily getting the truth. It all depends on what kind of things you learn, and how that knowledge benefits yourself and the society.

The physical things around us present less complications for learning because they are objective and verifiable. We call these scientific truths. They range widely from the simple facts that the sun rises in the east (why?) and food decays if not refrigerated (why?); to the enormous power of the atom (why?). They are just facts to learn regardless we believe or like them.

On the other hand, some simple scientific facts were not learned for thousands of years due to conflicts with religious beliefs leading to the scientific truths being vilified or suppressed in favor of outdated religious dogma. Examples include: flat earth being at the center of the universe, human creation on a biblical time frame, and the theory of evolution still being viewed as heresy in some religious circles.

Our biases influence our learning to a great extent. The most notable example is climate change. If you happen to be in the fossil fuel business, you are reluctant to believe the facts especially when they point to the environmental damages of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. So there exists strong opposition to climate science to the point of its being ridiculed as a hoax. Yet, Mother Nature moves on whether we like it or not. The non-believers will be learning a good lesson when the shocks come in the form of fierce storms, failing crops, and rising ocean levels.

Many people fail to learn how to use the personal computer for fear of pressing the wrong key causing all the mysterious things to happen. Personally, I fail to learn all the good facilities provided by my cell phone except dialing and receiving calls because they seem so complicated. Should my job require this learning, I’d be forced to learn it for fear of being fired. This kind of mental block is commonplace.

All the non-scientific facts are learned one way or another. What do I mean by that? Non-scientific facts are subject to interpretation and personal biases. They mean different things in different contexts to different people. That’s why non-scientific facts present so much complication for us to filter out the truth. Everyday, we are bombarded with infomercials as to what is good and bad. We are also bombarded with political advertizing or propaganda trying to promote the special agenda of a political party. As a result, people get confused. It is really hard to distinguish between truth and untruth.

Learning is a life-long process. What we have learned remains to be affirmed or rejected if we keep an open mind. Let me offer the following questions to illustrate the right approach to learning:

Do you keep an open or close mind?

Do you have a mental block for learning certain things?

Are you aware of your own biases that limit your learning?

Have you tried to question certain established facts held as true?

Regarding the writers or speakers, have you tried to understand where they come from and their biases? Do you see what they are trying to sell to you?

Do you just accept what people say without exercising your own reasoning and judgment?

November 2012

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Inspiration. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to How Do We Learn or Fail To Learn?

  1. Unquestionably cogitate that that you said. Your darling reason seemed to be at the ensnare the easiest circumstance to receive in brain of. I vote to you, I truly comprehend irked at the same clock as kindreds speculate establishments that they plainly don’t complete about. You controlled to slug the capture upon the apex besides further defined external the every item minus having side-outcomes , folks can undergo a signal. Resolution liable be dorsum to have more. Acknowledges!

  2. Shieceigoni says:

    Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read anything like this before. So nice to find somebody with some original thoughts on this subject. realy thank you for starting this up. this website is something that is needed on the web, someone with a little originality. useful job for bringing something new to the internet!

    air jordans

    Oakland Raiders Jerseys

  3. After going over a handful of the blog articles on your website, I really like your technique of writing a
    blog. I added it to my bookmark website list and will be
    checking back in the near future. Please visit my web site as well and tell me what you
    think.

  4. Antoine says:

    Amazing issues here. I am very satisfied to peer your
    article. Thanks a lot and I am taking a look forward to touch you.
    Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

  5. I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills and
    also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself?
    Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one nowadays.

  6. I blog quite often and I really thank you for your information. Your article has truly peaked my interest.
    I am going to book mark your website and keep checking for new details about once a
    week. I opted in for your Feed too.

  7. With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright
    infringement? My site has a lot of completely
    unique content I’ve either written myself or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the web
    without my authorization. Do you know any methods to help reduce content from being stolen? I’d definitely appreciate
    it.

    • stockfessor says:

      You need not worry about plagiarism or copyright if you are true to the writing principles:
      * You say or invent ideas from your own mind and put a date on them.
      * You quote the sources whenever you borrow from somewhere else.

      You may want to register your stuff with the government copyright office. They will look at it to determine whether your claim of originality is valid or false. They may accept or reject your registration of copyright.

      There are many things that cannot be copyrighted. For instance:
      * You invent an engine that runs on water (unless you demonstrate with a real working model).
      * You discover that health is more important than money (You may think this is an original idea, but many people happen to think the same way. So your discovery cannot be copyrighted).

  8. It’s an awesome paragraph for all the internet users; they will take benefit from
    it I am sure.

  9. Hi there! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that
    would be ok. I’m absolutely enjoying your blog and look
    forward to new updates.

  10. Heya i’m for the primary time here. I found this board and I to find It
    truly useful & it helped me out much. I am hoping to present one
    thing again and help others like you aided me.

  11. Brandie says:

    My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find many of
    your post’s to be what precisely I’m looking for.
    Do you offer guest writers to write content available for
    you? I wouldn’t mind composing a post or elaborating on a number of the subjects you write
    in relation to here. Again, awesome weblog!

    • stockfessor says:

      You are welcome to write something interesting on my blog site. There are two ways you can do it.
      1) You may post a comment. But if the comment is long, there is a second option
      2) Send me your essay to askjohnfung@gmail.com, I’d be glad to put it up as a regular post like mine but with your name and contact information for the readers to see.

  12. What’s up to all, how is all, I think every one is getting more from this
    website, and your views are nice designed for new people.

  13. Hello everyone, it’s my first pay a visit at this web site, and article is genuinely fruitful designed for me, keep up posting these types of
    content.

  14. Wonderful, what a webite it is! This website gives helpful facts to us,
    kep iit up.

  15. favorite says:

    What’s up Dear, are you actually visiting this web page regularly, if
    so after that you will definitely get pleasant know-how.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s