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Understanding's Challenge

...and the search for Learning

 "The Modern Shaman pursues an open and evolving understanding; reconsidering all things accepted as fact; accepting that judgements of truth and fact are fleeting at best."

The Shaman remains open to change, re-examining data, both old and new.

In the previous section, we examined the dangers in seeking knowledge (for knowledge's sake) and placing too much faith in facts as irrefutable data packages no longer open to reinterpretation.  We discussed the logical impossibility of absolute truth and the dangerous fallacy of knowledge. 

The closest we can have is essentially objective data upon which we construct our 'truth de jour'.  This presents a conundrum, "How can one learn without generating a knowledge based in an accumulation of facts?".

Learning must be the relentless and organic pursuit of understanding.  Understanding is a living and organic process of re-examining perceived relations between identified ideas and concepts which acknowledges and embraces the inevitability of change.

To seek understanding is to release one's self from the dusty constraints of knowledge and assumptions no longer relevant on this new day.  To seek understanding, one accumulates data instead of knowledge, a malleable pool of information packages to be examined and re-examined in acknowledgement of the inevitability of change.

Personal honestly requires us to admit that if compelling, new data becomes available to make a previous assumption invalid; we must deny what we previously thought of as truth in favour of the new understanding, the 'new truth'.  It is our understanding, our malleable and changing reassessments of available data, that define our personal truths. 

Understanding pins our ego, not to the sanctity of illusory absolutes, but to our ability to evolve new and different interpretations based upon new and existing data.  When it is understanding that is pursued, that which is pursued is the closest thing to truth that mankind is likely to find; the pursuit of understanding is learning at its most elemental.

Understanding allows and demands further exploration.  Understanding uses objectivity and subjectivity as tools rather than conditions.

One of the things that most marks humans as a species apart is our desire and ability to look at existing data in new ways.  Once we would have seen a tree as a tree, now we might also see a potential house, a beautiful new bed, a cosy fire or a complex sub-environment and biosphere of sorts.  The fact that we see so many new things in something known to our species for as long as we've walked does not necessarily negate the previous understanding, often enhancing it!

Understanding necessarily denies the existence of absolutes and demands malleability of the construct establishing and underlying a given understanding.  The construct is continually subject to alteration as experience and learning changes the constructs of the perceiver.

Leaving thoughts malleable and accepting of change is the basis of understanding; understanding is the basis of learning.  Learning recognises the adaptability of concepts and ideas to accept review and change as required by new experience, information, consideration or revelation.




Craig Berry - 1996 - 2010, All rights reserved - reproduction without written permission prohibited.