Unlearning

You know nothing Jon Snow!

GoT

A few months ago, as I was reading the Red Book (Jung), a word came to my mind, out of nowhere, uncalled for: “Unlearning”. As it happened with Little Witch Wanda, instead of ignoring this bubble from my unconscious, I decided to take a minute to look into it.

I put the book down and I looked up “unlearning” in Google. Very interesting. I particularly liked what Scott Young had to say about it. This is the link to his blog, he explains it much better than I do (thank you for posting it!): https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2018/04/12/the-art-of-unlearning/

The brain stores the information we receive and uses it to create more complex knowledge and theories, so that we can use it in a way that is helpful to us. The problem lies on the way this information is tagged (or rather, not tagged). The information the brain stores can be highly reliable (the Sun comes out in the East) or less reliable (whatever piece of fake news or some reality we make up unconsciously). When the information gets stored, the reliability tag is removed and information is just stored as something we “know”. On this ground we build new knowledge and theories, our “way of thinking”. If the information we build on is reliable, great, but if it isn’t, the probability of our theories being incorrect is very high. However, we are not aware of this, because the original information is not revisited and its reliability is not questioned. In the end, we take the stored information in our brain as equally reliable, most of the time not even remembering where the information came from, let alone whether it was a reliable source. Not only have we built core theories based on incorrect information, but we also cannot identify a priori which of our theories are affected by this virus. And it so happens that sometimes, or many times, we realise that something we have believed for our entire lives is just not true or, at least, is very difficult to justify. We rebel against this, of course.

Even if we might never do it, we should revisit the basis of our knowledge and check how reliable or timely it is. This would allow us to detect those premises that were unreliable or plain wrong in the first place. Alternatively, or additionally, we need to get used to the fact that the things we know may not be reliable and get used to live in the world of the uncertain. This, actually, is a liberating experience I recommend trying now and then.

… to be comfortable with the idea that everything you know is provisional, and that underneath what you know is likely a more complex and stranger picture

Scott Young, www.scotthyoung.com/blog

Or… “you know nothing!”. Loved it.