Eternal Learning

“A plant needs roots in order to grow. With man it is the other way around: only when he grows does he have roots and feels at home in the world.”

Eric Hoffer, American Social & Moral Philosopher (1902-83)

Most of us are very much familiar with the old adage Ignorance is bliss, though we may not take that path to attain bliss!  In this twenty first century as we talk more about Machine Learning and Industry 4.0, one has to be an active learner.  On one hand digitalisation has become the norm to increase productivity and hence scalability and on the other Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionising medical diagnostics and consumerism. These constant changes naturally demand more time and efforts to keep pace with.

Human beings are by nature and culture a small group species. We have survived, despite our physical and emotional vulnerability, by working together and solving problems as a group. Today to Work in a group one has to have clarity on many things – common objective,  value system, complimentary knowledge / skill-sets, effective communication and visionary leadership.  In the context of constant changes and working in a group, it may be perhaps appropriate to talk about the basics of learning and how important it is to understand the process of learning.

Learning has many dimensions – starting from understanding, developing and managing SELF to looking beyond ONESELF. As I look back ‘learning’ as a process through the lens of time (over seventy years), there has been sea change not just in the number of things that one has to learn, but also in the number of parameters that one has to give attention to while learning – may it be knowledge of a subject or a skill. Today Information and Communication technologies have made learning more autonomous and unless the individual is clear about the purpose and has a road map, it may not result in any useful outcomes.

Unlearning some of the practices and knowledge that are  not required for professional and social life as we grow, is another important aspect of learning process. As Carl Rogers (American Psychologist, 1902 -87) had said, ‘the only person who is educated is the one who has learned to learn and change’. In reality, many  things around us keep changing faster than we may comprehend. With changing situations, as we grow older, learning becomes generally more difficult because of lack of motivation apart from the slowing metabolic process.

Most of us are exposed to academic process – structured syllabus, class-room teaching, notes and reference books, that forms only part of learning process, mainly related subject matter. We do learn lot many things during school and college education though not in a formal manner.

Formal education has a beginning and an end, whereas personal learning is a never-ending process. Eternal learning does not mean continuing education in the same field we pursued our formal education. The only requirement is to learn something new throughout one’s life. Lifelong learning can mean following our passion for languages, developing new innovative ideas, or improving our musical or artistic skills or even doing socially relevant services. Education take places simultaneously – physical, vital, psychological and spiritual, provided one is conscious about learning.  Lifelong learning is beneficial for  us to  reach our full potential through self-actualization.  Abraham Lincoln had once said, “I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.”


October 05, 2022 | Ravi 52