Having to Unlearn

Teaching an old dog new tricks can be difficult, because the old tricks are the default and the hard disc may be near full. And if we have spent time learning, we have invested in that learning, so we do not want to let it go. We may trust that learning beyond its applicability and efficacy.

As I have mentioned I am starting to learn Aikido. Every once in a while, I find myself in a situation where I have a programmed response in-built. I find myself in a position where I would normally have gone for a leg-reaping throw, a choke hold, or something else. I get shown a new (to me) different way and my mind and body goes; “gruuurghahaahhaahhh”. It can hardly cope with the conflict between the new way and the old way. It is a very strange sensation. Things get jammed, but there is a willingness on my part to get past this. In order to get past this point, I have to unlearn, which is a bit harder than learning in the first place. We trust that which we think we know. It is familiar. We have to metaphorically delete the file from the hard disc to make space. Some of these files are “protected” and encrypted, so the deletion is not always straight forward.

A while back I had a brief go at undergraduate teaching. What I had accepted before without questioning, now caused me grief. The files had been deleted by time. And when I started looking at the derivations in Statistical Thermodynamics (for example) I was deeply unhappy at all the approximations and mathematical tricks. They no longer sat well and as gospel. In learning these anew I was not happy nor comfortable. I began to question how come I had been so very accepting before. Much paper and pencil work later, I was still not happy. Even re-learning an old trick can be difficult.

Learning is a strange thing and we all have different approaches.

Having cued this up:

Do I think Yoda is right in his advice?

Have I ever tried to do this?

Or am I stuck in my ways?