Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Confucius Guide to Learning

"Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous."-Confucius
Confucius talks of the perils of thought without learning and I can understand his concern. In many ways we restrict our thoughts, if we do not take the time to understand where they connect to the thoughts of others. We have access to the teachings of an entire civilization. We can access these great minds through courses, books and many other methods. We can access ideas that belong to great thinkers and allow ourselves to be challenged. Our assumptions can be tested and our ideas expanded. There is always so much to learn but regardless of success or failure, we are always rewarded with the knowledge we obtain.

If we learn without thought, then we do not bring forward our own ideas. We don't interact with knowledge, we simply repeat it. We are not enhanced by what we have learned, I can see why Confucius would see this as 'labor lost'. Learning should be an interaction between what we already know and what we are capable of understanding.

I am currently working towards my second degree (my first degree was Fine Art). I'm studying part time, distance learning with the Open University. Today I found that I've successfully passed DD203 Power, dissent, equality: understanding contemporary politics. I would recommend this module to anyone interested in politics. This has been my second module, the first being DD101 Introduction to the Social Sciences. I am working towards a BA(Hons) Politics, Philosophy and Economics. I have a few years to go before my degree is complete but I would recommend the Open University to anyone.