“The illiterate of the future are not those who can’t read or write but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” Alvin Toffler
Facts, valid information and researched data undoubtedly all add value . We all sometimes crave to accumulate them in order to stay updated and make ourselves more useful. But in this fast changing world , these constructs keep changing their parameters and as they say, the future will belong to the one who adapts faster. And this adaptation comes the fact that how easily can we unlearn things with the demand of time!
Learning is a continuous process and so should be unlearning! Unlearning is not about just negating what one has learnt over the years. It is more than that. The process requires one to use the already accumulated knowledge to question, investigate and reassess the preconceived notions that might no more fit with the current trends or beliefs. This can be challenging because the unlearning might change one’s entire perspective and the understanding of a subject or life per se. The unlearning must be followed up with relearning and rearranging the patterns in our brain. The rewiring might take a little time and may seem a little difficult as well. But this can be the only norm for an everchanging and developing world.
For this process to flourish, the ability to question something must be acceptable. But in current times as we have felt that the right to dissent is bearing a lot of backlashes. And my reference here is open to all arenas starting from political, social and even within a family. The society always raises an eyebrow to those who question and do not fit in. Always! Some go with the flow and sacrifice the very functioning of their brain to seek answers because, life is hard and it compels you to bend down many a times so that you do not break. Some, revolutionize the whole process of dissenting and if they are lucky, the times recognize them as heroes of change. But there might be many unknown cases that might have given themselves up for becoming the catalysis of change, but would have just been ignored or forgotten .
Mostly one can undergo the below phases, when undergoing the unlearning process
Phase 1 : Resistance
The first phase is always difficult. Breaking of patterns can seem too much of work and we may doubt ourselves in this phase. For example, raising women issues by many men is still looked down upon , even in modern times like today. This might seem common in affluent and white collared spectrum of society but go to a village, where most of India stays, and you will understand the differences. So, to introducing a very simple concept of gender equality be it about giving respect to their spouses or letting their girl child the exact treatment as their male offspring can seem like some alien talk to them.
Phase 2: Change of attitude
The real unlearning process sets in when there is actual change at a deeper level, when the thought processes, the cognitive levels undergo a paradigm shift. This can be quick or slow depending upon the situation that one (or group ) undergoes. A small example might be once these gender equality norms are accepted, if the happiness and the sense of happiness in women can be realized by the male members and the realization dawns then , we can say that there has been a change of attitude.
Phase 3: New outlook
The end and the most important phase would be the changed behavior or the outlook towards a certain belief system. The adaptation and the fluidity expressed in the thought process is the real final result that is achieved . We can say that learning process is itself used to unlearn , break patterns and embed new layers of perspectives.
The world will always need people who can adjust themselves with the new trends , be consistent in learning , unlearning and relearning things and outlooks. However care should be taken in normalizing only the progressive, forward looking and beneficial trends to be followed for the better good of humanity and its sustenance in the long run. May we always keep learning meaningful and fascinating concepts be it bookish or anything other than it.
This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon.’