To Learn is to Change

Learning is not about acquiring new information. Learning is about fixing your own defects.

Knowledge and intelligence on their own are useless. If you don’t know how to apply what you know, you may as well not know it. If you don’t have the desire to use the knowledge you have, you may as well not have it.

All of the knowledge we will have in the future is already in our minds. Our brains work very similarly like computers, in that every file added to a computer is just a conversion of bytes that are already there. The bytes are already there, and then they are converted into memory. That is how our brains work. If you have the capability of solving math problems in your head, or speed-reading books, or figuring out aspects of physics long before anyone else does … it’s all the same. These things were already in you. They just needed to take shape.

When we are born, we are not entirely a blank slate – the foundation, and materials, for everything we will think and know is already there.

So, when we learn things, it’s not that we are adding things to our brain, we are actually replacing and converting parts that were already there. In completely literal terms, synapses make new connections when we learn.

What’s the point of all this? My point is, in order to learn, we need to change.

We think of it as growing, and that might be the case while we are becoming adults, but that is still groundwork. The groundwork is not fully laid out until we are about 25 years old, but that is only groundwork.

To learn, the parts of us that were defective need to be replaced. We usually call those bad ideas, bad habits, and immaturity. It’s all the same process, though, and that process is getting rid of parts that don’t work so well, and replacing them with parts that work better. Getting better ideas, better habits, and becoming more mature.

You cannot learn if you’re not willing to change.

Every second of every day, our brains are changing, anyway. Every second, we process incoming thoughts, we process the images our eyes catch, we remember things, etc. But change, in the sense I’m talking about, is intentional change. It’s the kind of change where entire portions of our psyche are intentionally changed by ourselves.

That does not occur on its own. It can only be intentional.