Teaching and learning help us understand. Yet, even if one understands the whole sphere of human knowledge, does one really know ‘more’? What is knowledge beyond the myriad facts that comprise it? We all know that simply learning facts does not make one knowledgeable. So, what is knowledge beyond the facts which comprise it? Surely it’s the know in knowledge. Ironically, one can understand a field of knowledge, and yet not know, just as one can understand a tree and fail to see the forest.
Genuine ‘knowing’ is the sensing (feeling not thinking) of a relationship between disparate ‘items’. After that ‘knowing’ awakens, reflective thinking (and then maybe speech) attempt to articulate the ‘knowing’*.
Sensing a relationship between assorted ‘items’ connects them. Connection awareness** is the source of ‘knowing’. Taoism’s “mysterious sameness” portrays the nuance. All articulated thought floats above this foundation, which is why it’s impossible to articulate this foundation. Impossible to articulate (speak about), yet a reality felt by one and all.
The capacity to sense relationships (connections) between ‘this’ and ‘that’ is innate. It can’t be taught or developed. It unfolds internally as we develop and mature (age). When you sense a new connection, you know something new. The deeper and more overarching the connection, the more profound the knowing. However, ‘formal’ teaching and learning are not directed from this level, (nor can it be for this connective level lies deeper than any of the thoughts and social politics involved at the ‘formal’ level).
Learning that simply involves learning and remembering facts is ‘unknowing’. Most educational efforts happen at this level. However, such education does serve very real emotional needs. Learning creates our paradigm—an ideal mental world where we feel at home (ironically, one such ‘home’ is the ideal of education itself). Within the paradigm we build our individual beliefs which we hold on to for emotional security. Our ‘learnings’ become possessions (which in turn possess us). We use the facts comprising our beliefs to rationalize our needs and desires—social, sexual, dietary…you name it. We use facts to rationalize our biases (which are driven by the ‘tribal identity’ instinct), and to compete for a more elite social position (which is driven by the ‘pecking order’ instinct).
Thus, what passes for education, teaching, learning and understanding arises itself out of the modern ‘education paradigm’. It’s a house of cards build on insecurity, fear, loneliness, competition, elitism, and idealism not to mention a deep seated self denial of our own true animal nature. All of which results in a deep schism from nature, which intensifies our disconnection further. Of course none of this is different from any other paradigm humanity has clung to throughout its history.
* While attempts to articulate the ‘knowing’ succeed, the communication of that ‘knowing’ via the articulation does not unless the listener is ready to ‘know’—or maybe more mysteriously, already ‘knows’. What often occurs is an interpretation, or rather mis-interpretation. The listener may think he understands, of course. Then too, a vast amount of mis-understanding occurs between listeners of disparate interpretations, with little awareness that this is the case. Mostly, we are too preoccupied by upholding our own interpretations (beliefs, understandings) to realize deeper similarities.
** The connection awareness part of ‘knowing’ is what brings a deeper sense of unity and peace to the mind, not the particular articulations of any particular era in human history. Thus, when a cave man ‘knew’, he experienced the same awakening that, say, Einstein experienced when he pondered light. The surface particulars (resultant thoughts) were different, but the ‘knowing’ was the same.