A Culture of Learning
The choice to adopt assumptions with the intention of operationalizing them does indeed entail challenges – overcoming habits of mind, resisting corrosive social forces, understanding the dynamics of change, etc – however, the journey hardly stops there. These assumptions need to be applied and tested within reality to assess the fruits they bear. To this end, a culture of systematic learning must be fostered; one that is motivated by a human being’s two-fold purpose, one that draws insights from science and religion, one that approaches universal participation and regards all as protagonists in the generation and application of knowledge.
There are a number of principles that prove valuable towards creating a culture of learning – three here will be mentioned. One is integrating study and action together. When they are carried out concurrently, insights are tested against reality, questions arise through service, and understanding is enhanced in a coherent fashion. Contrast this with the educational systems of society which heavily fragment theory and practice, to the point where whole fields, irreconcilable with each other, are created to encompass one fragment versus the other. Operating within this mode of study and action, a posture of humility assumes extreme importance and value – that each individual contributes simply one perspective towards an evolving collective knowledge, which is tested through action, studied and refined by others, and does not belong to one or another person alone. Rather, all are empowered to own the generation and application of knowledge. Again, society denotes humility as passivity, weakness, inferiority, submission. Far be this from the truth! Rather, true humility comes from an understanding of the oneness of humankind – that we are all cells in the body of humanity, that we all can play a part in the great enterprise of rearing a world civilization, that no one individual is greater in station than another. Finally, joining study and service with a humble condition compels individuals to not only encourage and accompany others on a path of learning, but also to find delight and happiness in the accomplishment of others. For – again, drawing from oneness – the knowledge generated by another is collective and beneficial to all. The service rendered by another is towards the whole community, and benefits all. Assisting others in learning is just as valuable as learning itself, for all work together in a culture of learning.