On Learning and Ideas
Fragments from imaginary dialogues
“What is the relationship between learning and ideas?“
“Let’s say you read an article. The article has a number of Ideas Of Interest (IOIs) for you. Reading is the process of discovering the IOIs.
Some ideas have immediate value.
It can be temporary value. (eg inspiration)
It can be permanent value. (eg insight – restructures your model of reality)
Some ideas (if not most) have potential value. You need to do something with them to actualize their value. If you read an idea that has potential value without doing anything with it, the net value you get is zero. In this case, what you get is the illusion of learning.
Learning is the process of actualizing the potential value of ideas.“
“What if you do learn something but then forget it?“
Learning is the process of actualizing the potential value of ideas by converting them into persistent structures.
The structures can be external or internal.
Some ideas have value in storage. Their value is actualized by storing them externally, to have as references, or because they can potentially give birth to new ideas.
Some ideas have value in use. Their value is actualized by turning them into internal structures: principles, habits, and skills.“