Saturday, January 20, 2007

Human Learning, One of the Wonders of the Universe

Human Learning, One of the Wonders of the Universe.

A dog from Chicago has no trouble communicating with a dog from Japan. A newly born deer is ready to get up and run within hours if not minutes. These animals, much as they love them, have an easier time of being who they are meant to be, and they miss out on what’s central to the human experiment: learning.

They don’t need to learn to crawl, to sit up, to walk: it comes with the package. The don’t need to learn to talk: that doesn’t come with the package.

This is humanity.

We learn.

When we are young, this is our whole life, learning.

Then we go to school, and we keep learning, but a lot of crap we don’t need to learn: how to stifle our movement, how to be quiet, how to do what we are told, how to wait our turn, how to play the school game.

Along the way, we might learn to read, if the teacher doesn’t get in the way of our abilities of figure stuff out and doesn’t set us up to fail but disconnecting reading from the game that it is. But that’s another topic, the topic of how fun it is to teach kids to read and do math, about which one essay has already been written.
( Titled :
Math isn't hard, it's a chance to learn how to use our brains.

For now though, for a short sweet piece: learning makes us human and we can learn wonderful new things, a musical instrument or a new language. And we can learn how to constrict our breathing and hold ourselves to have back pain, or the wreck our hips. We can learn to hate ourselves and feel bad about life.

There is lots to learn.

And what is the core of learning?

Noticing a difference that makes a difference.

That’s nice isn’t it?

Noticing a difference that makes a difference.

What have you learned today? Maybe this essay has been part of the wonder of life for you. I hope so.


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