One of the things I’ve been doing lately is reflecting. Reflecting a lot, I might add. Sometimes I even feel I’m running in circles, but somehow I also feel I have been internalising a lot of things, acquiring new concepts and making new relationships between the elements of my knowledge system.
Wherever I go I seem to find several things related to what I’ve been writing and learning in this sort of quest. Indeed, learning is a quest. Beating the unbeatable foe: ignorance. But the more we know, the more we know we don’t know. The more we know in absolute terms, the less we know in relative ones.
Well I was in those kind of mental ramblings when I found Ackoff’s spectrum of learning, that hereby I rename as the learning value chain.
data -> information -> knowledge -> understanding -> wisdom
Wow. A lot of (un)common sense transformed into chain form.
Let’s read it and reflect about it. Learning is a process, a value chain, that needs a lots of parts to be produced before completion. Each one of them is necessary to make the whole product.
Beginning with raw data, that we of course need as our raw material to transform, we must be able to transform ourselves into wiser beings. (Maybe we are the raw materials and data is the energy, or maybe we need something else to be able to transform ourselves and raw data into something more, maybe there’s another kind of energy involved in the process)
But, whatever it is, it seems clear that if we spend too much of our time and energy dealing with data, or simply with information, we can be so saturated with it that we won’t be able to have any time or energy left to analyse and reflect so we won’t be able to move to understanding and ultimately to wisdom.
Everything in its right quantity to be able to cook some wisdom. Do not get lost into a sea of data, don’t try to understand everything without any kind of interiorisation, do rely on information… to a certain point.
Last but not least, I said reflection or reflecting, not procrastinating. Procrastinating (leaving things for tomorrow knowing they should be done today) is not good at all for your mental discipline. It will make your brain lazier. After all the brain is an organic machine worried about survival and, in non-emergency mode, worried mainly about energy conservation. So if the brain gets its way, it will procrastinate more tomorrow. An ill-fated destiny for wisdom.
In other words, if you let your mind defeat you, you’ll be weaker tomorrow (crastinus in Latin), and you’ll have even more disadvantage tomorrow, that will turn into lower self-esteem, low mood and ultimately depression. A vicious circle.