Views > Human Resources > Idea > Unlearning Theory
KK Verma, Member, Director, India
Learning has always been a craze for human beings. Thinking differently from the normal course is not a new concept; they are the need of hour. Today with all the complexities of societies, it is understood that thinking has to be done differently. Lateral thinking as given by Edward deBono in 1960s have been accepted well. This has been included in the course curriculum for creative thinking however lateral thinking simply is not going to serve in present environment. We may have to adopt totally new ideas and many a time reverse of what we already knew, which means there is a requirement to unlearn what we already know. Unlearning is much more difficult than learning. But we do not have choice. In the days to come, we may be forced to unlearn. So start unlearning, stop learning, UNLEARN or LEARN TO UNLEARN before it is too late to unlearn.
The technological inventions which have taken place in the last fifty years have surpassed all the technical developments which took place since the evolution of human civilization. If we take Kurzweils Law into account, we can understand that we have to unlearn manythings to face the present and shape the future. The necessity of unlearning can be understood through proper grasp of various needs of human beings. Our needs have changed with times. Based on these new needs, seven critical factors (SCF) have been identified, which affects our growth in life. They need to be understood to achieve the objectives of unlearning. The seven critical factors have been concluded as ‘theory of human growth’. The seven factors can be considered as “Unlearning Theory”. Unlearning can be done with the help of these factors:
I. Thinking and Action – In search of truth.
Ii. Aspirations – How to set Goal?
Iii. Sex – At core of all Human Relationship.
Iv. God – Allow your Ethics and Behaviour to be developed.
V. Parents – As you sow so you reap.
Vi. God Father – Have Sense of security.
Vii. Wisdom Domain – Create Knowledge Source!
I- Thinking and Action – In search of truth
Life is complex. Existing process of thinking and action is more complex. It is presumed that increasing state of education should reduce the complexity of thinking. However, in practice, it does not happen so. Educated people are involved in corruption, pursuing fatal traditions like caste discrimination, dowry, honor killings, female infanticide and so on. Learning is not helping people to be civilized. We must know how, what and why do we think. In case, if we are unable to think better, what should be done? Shall we take a pause, think, compose, prepare and finally think better? We need to think differently so that we can find truth. There is an urgent need to find new ways to think and act. We need to give more time and allocate more resources to new things, new ideas. We need to study, visit and discuss new places. Unless we list and prioritize the list of activities in new domain of operations, we are bound to make our life complex
II- Aspirations - How to set Goal?
Big aspirations have become birth right for the people of this information age. However we need to be cautious that our aspiration should not be fatal or dangerous. We all aspire to be great. We all aspire to achieve success. We all aspire to do great jobs. But we are generally confused and not so focused as needed. We aspire for new avenues while we never get detached from the old and outdated aspirations. Old professions keep us too much occupied and do not give enough time for new aspirations. In the bargain to achieve success, we have many contradictory aspirations. It is difficult to achieve something good amidst contradictions. Every contradiction in life should switch over to simplistic and straightforward steps. Today’s world is full of contradictions for all those who have not been able to integrate unlearning in their system. So, it is important for us to understand these contradictions and remove them. We have passed from the Agricultural, Industrial to the Information era. Our mind remains filled with aspirations of all these era. Individuals are thus having many aspirations at the same time. It generates confusion and creates problems. Life is fun if you have less aspiration, enjoy what you do, get expertise in achieving excellence in your field and so on. One needs to concentrate on his field to excel. The area of interest must be precise and narrow so that your brain can assimilate the information.
III- Sex - At core of all Human Relationship.
Sex is the most confused and talked about subject from time immemorial. People have spent their life in understanding the intricacies of the typical lynch of human. As much you go deep, as much depth you realize. One needs to have terrific patience to understand the subject carefully. Without understanding sex, one can never claim to be making a balance life ever. Without proper knowledge of sex, people can go berserk at any age and at any position. The increased cases of molestation, rape, murder and social crimes are the result of unresolved sexual needs. Unfortunately, in India, sex education is still not being imparted in schools, creating vacuum. The understanding and seriousness of this subject in the overall growth of individuals is necessary. We need to unlearn manythings which have been taught to us.
IV- God - Allow your Ethics and Behaviour to be developed.
From religion to region, the methods and means of expressing gratefulness to God varies. Gandhi said, ‘Truth is God’. It confuses the whole system of society. It is difficult for normal people to know the truth of God. How can you find God in truth? It is important to understand God for growth. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in his book Letters from a Father to His Daughter (p-72) - has said, “Religion first came as fear and anything that is done of fear is bad”. It was fear only because of which many religions were spread. Today God spreads fear. The name of God is used to spread fears. The name of God is used to kill innocents. We need to unlearn those teachings and those fear emerging from those teachings.
V- Parents - As you sow so you reap.
A child is born vulnerable on earth. When she starts growing, it gives a sign of power and energy. Parents are the first source of energy, which influences the growth of a child. When, a child is growing to teens, the first thing comes to her mind that parents are like a God to her. Parents are very important in the growth of individuals. The 21st century has put some terrific challenges to existing family system. There is no way we can explain either party about the reality of two different eras. It is better we accept these social implications of the changes of this century. It would not be wrong, there is no generation gap; rather, in this Innovation Century I call it Generation Valley (GV). The existing family structure in a country like India is not supportive for the fast growth. That could be a reason why western countries during their road to prosperity passed through family turmoil during the beginning of twentieth century. We need to unlearn teachings given by parents and elders as we move up in our life so that we can serve our parents better than they served their parents. We have to be judicious about it.
VI- Godfather - Have Sense of security.
Most of the time, we do not try new things because we fear. A sense of security is must. So for unlearning also, it is important that a sense of security is created by virtual or real Godfather. The world is all alone especially when you leave your level and move to a new and unknown level, domain and platform. The moment you change the level, plenty of aspects of life change. Is it easy to unlearn without searching modern Godfather which I have termed as Dynamic Godfather (DGF) of 21st century. It is interesting to have access to world while sitting on network, it may be easy to feel the resources available, but it may be difficult to comprehend to build resources for better life? This can be achieved through simple unlearning. Accept JRD Tata as a godfather, Google as new godfather etc. You will be empowered to grow if you are ready to be conscious and you are ready to unlearn.
VII- Wisdom Domain - Create Knowledge Source!
It is important to create a knowledge source which helps you in taking day to day decisions. It is essential and important that an individual creates a wisdom domain for its life. As every moment, we have to take some or other decisions and we may not have expertise all the time, we need to create some wisdom domain which helps us to take better decisions. This method has to be a continuous and changing process. Time and situation change so fast that we have to be very dynamic in this approach to not get cheated by our own decisions. We must create a wisdom domain where we are in position to take correct decisions in our life.
Learn to Unlearn
With these seven factors, we need to concentrate on unlearning. The domain of unlearning needs to be explored. We have witnessed in the recent past the growth of USA President Mr. Barrack Obama. An ideal environment of unlearning helped him to achieve excellence what no black could have ever dreamt. We all know about the most powerful CEO Ms Indira Nooyi from Pepsi Corporation. The similar fate has been achieved by Narayana Murthy, Azim Premji, Dhirubhai Ambani and others. They have all done things not only by learning new things but forgetting the old ones. They all have unlearned outdated and old way of doing things. Unlearning has the power to change. Individual prosperity will pave the way to eradicate community poverty.
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