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The WMail Newsletter Essays
Volume II - Issue #6: January 2001

"How We Learn"
(from WM Chapter 14)

        Science has only recently reached a high level of understanding of how the brain of Modern Man works. Both Time Magazine and Newsweek Magazine had cover stories a while back that reported the latest knowledge of the physical events that occur during the human learning process, including color photos of high tech brain scans. This was, by coincidence, very validating for me, because I found that I had unknowingly adapted, duplicated actually, the same methodology as a practice for my own Learning process.
        In attempting to construct a career as a writer, in either Hollywood [screenplays] or book publishing [a series of detective novels], I naturally – for me – spent the effort to gather every bit of data about the Entertainment Industry and the Publishing Industry that I could, from the L.A. Times and other local newspapers, the Hollywood trades, as well as writerly sources like Writer's Digest, The Writer, and Publishers Weekly. I built a database of flat files on my antique computer, over months & years, with names and titles of people and where they moved job-wise, the companies and divisions and alliances and takeovers, and the agents and unions and moguls and editors and publishers. Even the record label divisions and broadcast satellite companies and movie and video distributors. Everything.
        Over time I developed a feel for how the people and executives related to each other; a sense of the effects of major takeovers and mergers and fads; for the ebb and flow of fickle fortune in the huge and overlapping corporate and independent businesses that make up 'show biz' and the publishing industry.
        This is precisely how every child of Homo sapiens sapiens is designed to Learn, no matter the environment or the intention behind the subject matter being taught. Everything is absorbed, avidly, up to about eight or ten years of age; then the design of the human brain removes or deletes any category of Learning that is no longer active.
        Really: The design of the brain wants a flood of raw material, to establish pathways and relationships, and then keeps only the most-necessary – for Darwinian survival – information and skills.
        It is possible to re-fill the organic 'gray matter' data banks that were deleted, some time later in one's Life, with proper effort. It is even possible to begin new subject areas not previously covered, but the effort required is considerable.
        What this new, deeper, more precise scientific understanding of the mechanics of the human brain provides us with is clarity on the proper, most efficient, most beneficial – as relates to Mankind's Highest Value and Purpose – approach to Learning. (I avoid use of the term 'education' here because the monolith of academia is best side-stepped: official 'education' provides little Learning.)
        That proper approach to Learning is to flood the empty and still-growing brain of the child – every child – from birth to teens, with all and every manner of stimuli.
        The facts being poured into the open minds of kids are not what is important. The key is to cover all kinds of art and mathematics and language and ethics and the internet and history and music and dance and science at an early age, so that the resulting teenager can process what is necessary for success in all circumstances of their later Life.
        This is similar to Montessori-based schooling, and a strong reason for their success, both as a business and in their results. This is also why the "Sesame Street" television programs are so great.
        The principle of developing the Working Mind requires Learning how to Learn, re-Learning how to Think, and not absorbing what one is given to learn or think, i.e. rote or 'received' information. The Culture-Structure avoids anything that threatens its narrow, dis-empowering intent; the young unstifled mind [or the developing Working Mind] absorbs anything and everything that it can get its [proverbial] hands on. The Working Mind looks freshly at Objective Reality, intending to discover the Distinctions {Chapter 21} that will provide Empowerment for him/herself and others.
        This is the process of learning as the Distinction 'Learning', pure and simple. This Learning is a form of Empowerment. Mankind must give kids every chance to be able to Think, to Reason, to make Distinctions – all on their own. And the generations after us will be better able to deal with whatever Life puts in front of them, whatever might arise. And they will be separate individuals, not dependent on the Culture-Structure, and oh so very dangerous to the dis-empowering status quo and to their personal False Mind/s.
        The Freedom of this process of Learning also frees the teachers, gives them the Power to Empower their charges. Building an empowering school system gives Power to the students; a school system that Empowers is one that kids cannot get enough of – give kids the Power to Learn and the next generation will be giants on this Earth.

*          *          *          *

        Empowerment is saying 'No' or 'Yes' at the precise moment that Makes A Difference, of pleading the guilty as guilty and only the innocent as innocent. Empowerment is standing alone in the face of the False Mind, separate from the Culture-Structure, which stance is, of itself, the stance that the Culture-Structure is not one's god-head, that it is not all-powerful, that the Culture-Structure is designed to steal Power. It requires Courage to stand aside from the Culture-Structure and to take the stand that you are not giving up your Power without a fight.
        Survival is a struggle, a mean existence. Learning is a natural delight, the expression of your personal movement along the Path to realize a part of Mankind's Highest Value, the fulfillment of Mankind's potential. To fulfill your Self, your own potential, is to do all that you need to do in this Life, for the fulfillment of Mankind's potential. The fulfillment of your personal potential Empowers the potential of Mankind's fulfillment.
        The on-going practice of Learning is your most precious tool for the fulfillment of anything that you take on. The bully believes that he/she has no option other than extortion; beneficial change in the bully's behavior will occur when the bully Learns a new life-skill. The legal profession sees no other option than ripping and tearing at the Value Justice; when the lawyer discovers Learning, he/she will be Empowered in the fulfillment of the Value Justice, rather than its destruction. Academics see no higher Value than Survival – 'publish or perish', get that tenure — but when they discover Learning as a Distinction they will naturally Empower others by passing on to their students the benefits of Learning, which in turn benefits all Mankind.
        The practice of Learning is a form of Empowerment that lasts a lifetime; there is always more to Learn [while mass 'education' ends at graduation, if not before]. Learning is the kind of never-ending personal Purpose that Empowers the Working Mind, the individual who takes it on as a Value, as personal Meaning. To be on the Path of Learning is to be on the Path of Empowerment, and on the Path of fulfilling both one's personal potential and Mankind's potential.

[copyright 1999 by Gary Edward Nordell, all rights reserved]

        The preceding is an excerpt from Chapter 14 of my forthcoming book, "Working Minds: A Philosophy of Empowerment".

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