Unlearning 101: A syllabus


“Never let formal education get in the way of your learning.” – Mark Twain.

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn”. – Alvin Toffler

Unlearning is the toughest one of the tasks Toffler mentions. With unlearning you’re on your own. There aren’t any unlearning schools, no teachers, never mind unlearning courses at school. You face the tough challenge of not knowing what you need to unlearn or even how to unlearn.

Here’s a proposal for an unlearning syllabus:

  1. History and philosophy of time
  2. Plain English versions of Einstein’s relativity theories
  3. Survey of physics (emphasis on “the arrow of time“)
  4. Survey of quantum theories (emphasis on particle/wave duality)
  5. Philosophy of change (source 1)
  6. History and philosophy of “the self
  7. Nondualism
  8. History and philosophy of “belief
  9. Philosophy of causality (including concepts like “the butterfly effect“)
  10. philosophy of logical models (including micro-logic, and counterfactual reasoning)
  11. Philosophy of truth (with an emphasis on the fragility of truth statements and validation statements)
  12. Perspectivism and contextualism, incommensurability
  13. Anthropology of non-Western cultures
  14. Critical thinking
  15. Problem solving skills
  16. Systems thinking (with an acknowledgment of “systems” as a conceptual construction)
  17. Application of your new insights to older, personal knowledge
  18. Writing your own (different) take of all of the above

Rethink –  learning, and unlearning will follow.


5 thoughts on “Unlearning 101: A syllabus

  1. Daniel – very interesting time exploring your world and insights! I found you while exploring the world of systems thinking and your messages resonate hugely. If you have the time and feel inclined check out our site – i think we have a lot in common. Best regards. Hazel

  2. One of the best blogs seen.

    Unlearning is extremely important for survival.

    Paradox: more unlearning more new knowledge.

    Alas, people are frightened of ‘unlearning’

    Unlearning: a ‘must-do’ course for all.

  3. Education is a system of information we subscribe to. New knowledge in one area triggers the need to change other areas. This second phase is what’s missing. We treat knowledge as if it were a static “thing” rather than a system of inter-dependent concepts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s