Learning is a necessary complement to Education for Meeting 21st century challenges
Living has never been easy, but it has gotten even more complex. More cultures, more complex demands, more science, more people, the instant pacing of information dissemination.
Today in school you are given an Education in what the mechanics of many practical aspects of life are. And this will be useful and necessary, but only a part of what is needed to live well and live wisely.
The contemporary solution we've been trained to rely when confronted with a challenge is to reduce the problem to less or simpler components and approach it logically. But we all have seen the application of this sometimes works, or sometimes is total disaster.
Have a problem with children's performance at schools.. reduce the time for art class and focus on passing tests - and make them hate school and overwhelm teachers in the process.
Its time to step back and acknowledge that we've got a hammer and everything is a nail. Our hammer is 'practical' specific thought, and the nail is the surrounding world and its challenges. Sometimes the challenges do in fact require that hammer, but the rest of the time we're beating ourselves and those around us into a pulp.
In your own search to meet the challenges ahead, you must become a friend of both the Finite aspects of man and thought - Education - as well as the Infinite aspect of man which can be explored and developed through the artistry of Learning.
Both are required for the challenges of the 21st century.
I'll now provide a new manner of considering those two words.
Education, as opposed to Learning, is specific and finite - the necessary workings of day to day - what happens. A meeting is often limited by time and the need to resolve certain items. A farm has to be tilled and sewn, tended and harvested. Those all require specific skills that can be gained in an education.
Learning is open, non finite, and provides angles of insight not answers. Learning is an art form and makes available History and Science. Great Art keeps blossoming each time you see it, consider it - without only 1 specific meaning, and yet with 1000 possible meanings. Take a Henry Moore sculpture of mother and child. It is open to explore love, growth, maturation, masculinity and femininity, youth.. there is no particular limit. Yes it has a genre or feeling tone that is unique and not all encompassing.. it does not suggest science fiction space travel, yet nor is it limited to an exploration of family and children in a terrestrial setting.
When Learning and Education are utilized in a complementarity manner the student of Learning can develop new ways to till, new ways to harvest. I paraphrase the use Niels Bohr's usage of the word complementarity: not paired poles of opposites, but rather two tuned aspects of a greater reality.
Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were perhaps some of the greatest examples of persons who explored both Education and Learning. America was created as an art form in large part by their efforts. America was not a country founded for Only practical specific purposes. But to accomplish this, it needed an open vision (just one example of this is the Declaration of Independence), and that vision needed practical nurturing (an example of this was Franklins work to help finance the revolution through the French).
Both were required.
If Education Only is provided, life may continue as it has. Students will sometimes find their own way to Learn beyond what was given to them. There is nothing wrong with this. Yet it is not the way of a people seeking to meet the challenges of 21st centry civilization.
Education Only is leaving to chance and individuals' innate drive that which could be developed in many more, and developed more fully in those with innate ability to an incredible extent.
Learning gives the opportunity for seeing through and beyond, instead of what is. But it takes a simmering to appreciate beyond the sometimes rigid structures and meanings of rote thought.
A great leader must have a great Education and also great Learning.
Some challenges may be straightforward. How much seed to buy for a given field. When to bring in workers to harvest.
And yet without seeking beyond the constraints of representational thought (e.g. thought that seeks for finite things, problems and answers), you will be unable to overcome complex challenges. In what cases should genetically engineered seeds be allowed or not. Such a question brings to the forefront thousands of years of agricultural development with science fiction vision [Learning inquiries], and the practicalities of food production needs, profitability and costs [Education topics] both now and far into the future [both Learning and Education required].
Seek Learning from those that give few answers but provide many angles of insight, an excellent means of inquiring.
Seek Learning from those with great ability to remember - to piece together the works and outcomes of seemingly disparate times, places and people.
Paradox is the friend of Learning. Listening without the expectation of understanding, is the friend of learning. Exposure to great works of Art is the friend of learning - whether spoken, written, painted, designed, the medium can be Anything.
As you search over the coming months and years, do not forget to eat, breath, tie your shoes, to show up for work and to help your constituents get what they need in all manner of practicalities. Such is the challenge of modern life, to have a body and time with great pressing responsibilities.
And yet the exciting opportunity is to see through and beyond your challenges - to develop Learning to rise to the challenges you'll face in the 21st century not with a rote hammer of reductive thought but with the history of insight of great men and women, and your own personal artistry working in concert to find greater Truth.
This is a process and you Will need help from those who have come before you. The challenges of the past were different, but the manner in which they approached them will give you the historical insight to make your own choices in the best interest of the people you represent.