What learning is not: it is not an intellectual exercise aimed at finding absolutes, truths, governing laws, and such. Learning ought not to be structured within the paradigms of certainty – the ‘pretensions’ of exposing/finding absolutes relate merely to dogmatism. Knowledge, in this sense, is almost always in the form of dissidence and critique, aimed at questioning the ontological basis of what is taken to be ‘given.’
As students, our priority ought to be to question and reflect. As a Furman professor put it eloquently; we should not settle with statements ending with exclamation marks, but our learning should be guided through question marks.
Learning happens through true democratization of thoughts and opinions. As students, we must steer clear of ideologies, which only stifle thought and marginalize other opinions. True learning occurs from “exile” – separation from nationality, ideology, identity, gender, religion, and so on. Such non-committal and pluralist form of learning is empowerment.
Of course, such a view is primarily informed through a humanities/social science perspective, and the science folks may/will have a radically different conception of theory, learning, and knowledge.
I think what we learn outside of the classroom enriches our experiences within the classroom. I liked what you said about being a student of everything and the concept of serving the world through knowledge; possibly also through seeking to understand? What you mentioned about “exile” as the location of true learning is interesting. I’d love to hear your thought on how that separation from nationality, ideology, identity, gender, religion, etc. shapes our growth within those areas/communities.
Thanks for sharing that Hammad.
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