Unconscious Competence LO19937

Leslie Lax (leslax@cnx.net)
Thu, 19 Nov 1998 13:16:08 -0800

Replying to LO19917 --

Margaret wrote:

>There are times when the knowledge is best applied transparently so that
>maximum performance can be achieved. Unconscious competence allows for
>this. It's like the flow state where all one's attention is on the action
>they are performing in the moment. Learning requires a break in the
>transparency (as Heidegger would say) and actually reduces performance in
>the moment. It seems to me that both unconscious competence and conscious
>learning are important at different times. Yes, we want continuous
>learning, but not at the expense of performance at critical times. Hence,
>we can make a declaration for learning which breaks the transparency when
>it is appropriate so that we can improve our performance in the heat of

Thanks for your contribution.

Yes. I guess I wanted to share my view that, in the absence of those
processes requiring us to "break the transparency", maximum performance is
a local maximum. Although we may never get there, unconscious competence
may prevent us from moving towards a global maximum.

I do have some difficulty in seeing in my minds eye when we make the
break. As with many situations, reasonably competent performance is able
to lead to situation improvement. And then, with time and resource
pressures, there is little incentive to question performance is we are
able to meet our responsibilities. It is the isolated state of
unconscious competence that presents some difficulty for me. What better
way to strive for the global maximum than by continually learning -
constant reflection. I think that this does not rule out
unconscious-competence. The two can operate in parallel - performing at a
local maximum, reflecting on that performance (and the way we think about
improvement) and continuing the learning process. This may have been
implied in your post, but it was not clear to me whether you saw the
process as being parallel or serial.

Still learning,



Leslie Lax Kelowna BC

e-mail: leslax@cnx.net web: http://members.cnx.net/leslax

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