On The Art of (Un)Learning
I am one of the millions of people the Western model of education has failed. When talking about Myer-Briggs classification of Jungian personality types, I come out to INFP (Introverted, iNtutive, Feeler, Perceiver). This is not important except for a few quick facts I would like to mention.
1. INFP is one of the rarest of the 16 personality combinations. It is also the personality type that has the greatest amount of gifted people.
2. It is not until later in life this giftedness is realized. In fact, I think as a type in general, we are all late at seeing the unique things we bring to the table. The Western model of education (especially since the passage of No Child Left Behind in America) relies heavily on standardized testing. We do not do well on tests. (This is something that is general of most Introverts of any type). It is not until we develop life experiences outside the classroom that we find our gifts.
I did not understand myself for much of my life so far, and many others have had a hard time understanding me as well. I thought I was certifiably crazy until I picked up this book a few weeks ago:
The problem was not that I was crazy. The problem is that I am an introvert living in an extrovert world, and since I was different, I automatically assumed something was terribly wrong with me. Now I understand myself, and realize that I am not crazy at all. This book was not the only thing I picked up. I also managed to pick up a copy O Magazine.
When it comes to my schooling, I will admit I have been quite the slacker. Both due to the fact that I do not learn in the way most of my educators have presented material to me and also because I felt I was stupid, and therefore should not try. There were other reasons too, but these are the main two. It wasn’t until I found myself in grad school that I started to think maybe I wasn’t so stupid after all, and maybe if I could figure out what I really wanted to study and do with life, school would be fun again.
Over the course of a year and a half, I have started enjoying school, and life again. I realize now that what I had to do was unlearn much about what I knew. I have recently unlearned a lot by reading The Introvert Advantage. I have unlearned from many other sources as well. My life has often progressed topsy-turvy and backwards, but for me, it has been the only way that has made any sense.
With all these things I have talked about so far in mind, imagine the smile of my soul when I came across this page while flipping through O magazine:
The text is hard to read in this picture, but it simple reads: “I decided to start anew, to strip away what I had been taught. -Georgia O’Keefe.” Meditate on this thought for a minute. On starting over by stripping away what one has been taught.
Only minutes later, I found myself wasting time on
This is the heart of what I wanted to say in this post. I don’t agree necessarily that the future is unwritten. In many ways, it has already been carved out. The thought occurred to me, however, the the future can be changed. The way to do this is by unwriting it, and to unwrite it, we must start anew, stripping away what we have been taught.
INFP’s are called the Idealist Healers. We are a set of people who wish to change the world for the better and often, each in our own way, do. I wish to do so, but before I can, I must unlearn to unwrite. After that, I will have a blank page on which to create the world how I wish it to be.
So I leave you with this final thought: What do you need to unlearn in order to unwrite the future that is waiting for you in order to have a clean page on which to write the future you wish to create?
Posted on February 4, 2012, in Culture Gone Wrong, Triumphs of Self and tagged books, education, Georgia O'Kefee, Goddard College, INFP, Introverts, O Magazine, Quotes. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.