Is there something called Neutral Learning? If so is that a possible thing for us to achieve?
By neutral learning I mean an ability to compose ourselves to a level of neutrality in order to learn or research impartially on something that we don’t either believe or believe the exact opposite of.
I believe that my learning started where my formal education ended. By this I think that I gained the freedom to learn beyond the confinement of a curriculum. Learn anything and everything that I deemed fit and interesting without having to worry about someone testing my knowledge in the field or comparing the same with other people’s knowledge or a standard definition of expert.
That freedom was so great that over the years I ventured into various fields as part of my work and interest, finally reaching a point where I asked myself a simple question.
Has my learning been orchestrated by some convictions that my formal education bestowed upon me?
By formal education I don’t just consider my primary education or college education but also what I have been taught as part of my upbringing by my family, elders, community and my surroundings.
Well though i would believe that it would have been so, the fact that I have not grown an affinity towards any school of thought in any way makes me think that I was neutral in my learning.
Lack of convictions
Talking about convictions, I have been always blamed upon saying that I lack strong convictions on certain issues, and this I always thought was the evidence of my lack of knowledge in a said area.
But looking back now I differ with the above thought and feel that my lack of conviction by itself is the basis of a neutral learning framework.
I am sure people with strong convictions will not like what I say, but I am in no way pointing fingers with what people believe in. I am just stating that I am composed to learn about what you believe in even if I have information pieces scattered in my mind against what your belief systems are.
This gets us to the core question that many don’t ask, at least I never asked
“ Why should one Learn?”
And the answer I give to myself is that learning should always be for a greater good, something that emerges from the healthy discussion of two potentially contradicting school of thoughts both linked by the common string that they aim a common goodness.
Neutral Learning defined
Neutral Learning starts with the acceptance that ignorance is a part of life and going public with the statement that “I am ignorant about many things”
Having made the statement above I am trying to further define neutral learning as follows –
“Neutral learning is a state of mind as well as a process of breaking from your said convictions if any so that you can listen and learn from the opposite perspectives.”
Neutral Learning starts when you have strong convictions in a said belief system or at least you realize that you are building a strong conviction and you pause and look at what would be the alternative perspective and learn from that too.
Neutral learning can be learning two opposite angles simultaneously so that you create a constructive debate in your mind itself so that you will start imbibing knowledge from all sides with a core goal of Goodness, which should be the firm objective of any learning exercise.
In the coming days I will touch upon a few more of my thoughts on how neutral learning mind will think about issues of conviction
At last let me conclude saying that these thoughts are not a result of years of research but a narrative of free thinking an learning in the absence of any convictions. So have started a group on Facebook to see if like minded people would join in