The school for slow learning

One way to utilise spacing is to change the definition of a learning event to include the connotation that learning takes place over time – real learning doesn’t usually occur in one-time events.*
(Will Thalheimer)

From the early nineteenth century on, the whole and single universes from pre-industrial societies changed to a multiverse, and the pace of change increased continually.’**
(Ursula Le Guin)

Seth Godin writes about how we’re all increasingly winging things in life:

“We’re winging it.  All of us.  The world goes faster and faster, and so people are finding themselves unable to read the bill before they vote on it, listen to the entire album before they review it or keep up with the best in the field before they do their work.’^

It may look like we’re getting lots done, but fast and super-busy for someone means the wrong kind of slow for someone else:

‘On every other occasion that I’d attended [ante-natal] waiting times had been over an hour, often two.  The long wait was accepted as a fact of life.  Doctors just run late.  And yet, that day I was being seen immediately.   The nurse took me into a side room, weighed me, took my blood pressure, tested my urine and documented the time I’d ‘been seen’ in her paperwork.  Then she brought me back into the waiting room where I sat for another two hours before the obstetrician finally called me in.’^^

What are we missing in all the speed?  What is someone else missing because of our speed.

Richard Leider is a “student of the second half of life.”  He found for those living their second half of life there were three things they would do differently if they could live the first half of their life over: they would spend more time in reflection, they would be more courageous in love and work, and they live with more purpose and make a difference in the world.*^

I was around thirty-five when I began wondering what I ought to be doing to live and work in a more focused way, rather than fulfilling a role.  The speed of this was not something on my mind.  It has taken quite some time to figure this out.

I will be sixty years old at my next birthday – definitely in the second half of life – and one of the things I have come to notice, and to value, is the slowness of my learning through these last twenty five or so years.

Every day I get up for school, in the widest possible way, to open my mind, to open my heart, and to open my will:

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious.  It’s the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.”^*

(*Will Thalheimer, quoted in Jay Cross’ Informal Learning.)
(**From Ursula Le Guin’s Words Are My Matter.)
(^From Seth Godin’s blog: I didn’t do the reading.)
(^^From Bernadette Jiwa’s blog: What Does Success Look Like?)
(*^From Jay Cross’ Informal Learning.)
Einstein, quoted in Alan Lightman’s A Sense of the Mysterious.)

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