Wisdom and feelings LO26999

From: Vana Prewitt (vana@praxislearning.com)
Date: 07/13/01

Winifried Dressler asked:
The question to all of us would be: Does our thinking and feeling
correspond in a way that makes us learn?

I would have to respond with an unqualified YES. I recently heard someone
say that "gut instinct is like the canary in the mine." It gives us
pre-intellectual knowledge. Some people are better at "hearing" that
message and interpreting the messages correctly. Others ignore the message
or get confused about its meaning. I do believe that we "know" at an
emotional level long before we parse out the details in a reductionist
intellectual manner. I also believe that we understand holistically ONLY
on an emotional level.

The Greeks did us a great disservice when they conceptualized knowledge as
three distinct characteristics (sophia=wisdom, phronesis=practical wisdom
[common sense], episteme=scientific knowledge). The emotional components
inherent to sophia and phronesis were eventually deemed unreliable and
less valuable because they were not measureable (and thus controllable) in
the same empirical way as episteme. I have found that Oriental concepts of
wisdom never adopted this division of "to know" and have maintained an
integrated, holistic, organic perception that Occidental philosophy lacks
and is (apparently) trying to recapture 2500 years later.

Winifried also said that he would value an emotional discussion of the
intellect. I recently had a conversation with the CEO of a large learning
organization. Their sole purpose in this world is to help people learn. He
asked me if the name of the organization should be changed. Currently,
they use the word "education" and some of the top management were
advocating for "learning". I emphatically disagreed. And here is why:

Learning is a transactional event, on a small scale, with specific goals.
It feeds the soul.

Education is the window to the world. Through it, you can walk into
possibilities you never dreamed of. It is generative and life giving.
Education teaches us how to fish so we can feed our own souls.

At least, that is how I see it. Learning engages the mind. Education
(not schooling) engages the heart, soul, and mind.


Vana Prewitt
Praxis Learning Systems


Vana Prewitt <vana@praxislearning.com>

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