This year I have been reflecting on the nature of perception as it relates to function. One mundane facet of this fascination is that recently various forms of thought expression have come to my attention which deal with the concept of learning. For months, now, I have been immersing myself in time-proven methods of achieving an understanding of the learning process. Watching a three-year old use a smart phone, reading the perverted confessions of dying, old (dead), wise men, falling asleep to the dulcet tones of a union established upon both dickering and bickering, they have all left me with a strong sense that there is something there. Or, perhaps the thereness lies in what I find absent. Something beyond a bunch of monkeys chasing bananas. My insight, if I may use that expression, came however not from any extraordinarily abstract thinking on my part but from a seemingly throwaway comment made to me by my brother.
“How is learning different from change?” The (insert fancy word for question to appear more appealing), required penance in the ritual of achieving a Masters in Indoctrination, did not mean a thing to me.
“How is learning… different… from change,” I repeated. Still, no sense. If there is anything on this godforsaken rock that, regardless of any higher state of being or intoxication that I may or may not achieve, will bug the shit out of me, it is anything that does not make sense. “If learning is a function of change, then to learn is to change from a state of unable to a state of able, learn being unequal to know.” We began to divide and define words and thoughts like an arrangement of unicolor M&Ms on a mancala board that I then carried around for the rest of the day, palms orange and a sticky feeling in my mouth.
It was not until later that night, whilst patiently explaining to my lover that Olav was the King of Norway from 1957-1991, the same year three people were crushed to death at an AC/DC concert in Mormonville, that all of eternity came crashing back to the one singular thought that haunts my every living moment. Afraid to yet utter the words, I will instead illustrate.
Two thousand years of cerebral evolution and K-12 is the best that we have come up with. People who are serious about physical fitness run, for Christ’s sake. I have never, once in my life, seen a bottle of rice wine that contained a depiction of the crucifixion.
Listen, and I will tell you a small part of why you (probably don’t) lie awake at night wondering for what it is that you fall asleep just to wake once more in this dreary cycle of life. It simply does not matter. Stuff any amount of knowledge into a person’s head and it will change zero. The best advice I have ever read is that reading advice is useless (http://www.life-hack.co.uk/2014/03/10-painfully-obvious-truths-everyone.html). In order to apply this to my current preponderance I attempted to recall a lesson I had learned which contained the possibility of change. The one I found is this: All things are created from the minds of men. Our minds work with equal ease a literary description or a literal hell. Look not to the poets of the past for their perennial philosophies but to the dreamers who dare decry the future we doom.
One more time. I’m talking about the Matrix. Forget about whether they infinitely expanded memory storage capabilities or succinctly compressed the knowledge of kung fu to a few hundred Gigabytes and realize that it doesn’t matter. None of our educational programs will service because all of them espouse the principle that we are in need of knowledge. One day, and this will, with the caveat that we continue to exist, already have happened, knowledge is universal. When that day came it will hit like the submarine that crashed into the Louvre in 1870. The problem is not our brains overloading with a surge of information that is quickly outpacing our cognitive abilities. The problem is not that you were[n’t] bullied in pre-school for being the straight kid with bad grades. The problem is this:
We are doing it entirely wrong, and no one gives a damn.