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Café-Salon Philosophique #64

July 22, 2000

No. of Participants: 9

Topic for Discussion: "Learning"

[Please forgive me, but there has not been much intellectual exchange in our conversations at Café recently. These thoughts and ideas were extrapolated and expanded on what little pieces were available to put together]

Samuel began the discussion by reviewing what we talked about at our last Café gathering - "Spiritual Teachers."(See Café No. 63) He then posed the question, "What ever happened to mentoring and apprenticeships?" Samuel shared how when he was young, it was an accepted practice to study for long periods of time under one teacher.

Mentoring and apprenticeships rarely exist in the world today. People don't seem to have the time; and have come to accept "instant" gratification. We are conditioned and learn to "need" according to our emotions. We all have needs and function at different levels. There is physical hunger, as well as, spiritual hunger. Most of us learn to fill that hunger through "buying things."

We also fulfill our needs by gathering and collecting things, raising families, staying busy at jobs, and educating ourselves on some of our favorite subjects. Not to say that this is wrong, but is satisfaction in living really present through these things?

The group then "bounced" to discussing ways in which we learn. It seems that most of us learn in some kind a classroom setting. The teacher/student ratio can create quite a large gap in learning. Individualized attention is rare these days. Most teachings are formed curricula that give everybody the same information. We are not taught to think and respond creatively.

Our culture continues to teach us to think almost exclusively through left brain analysis and reasoning, rather than balancing our thinking with use of the creative aspects of the right brain. We never learn to bridge the gap - balancing thinking and doing with both hemispheres.

So, the creative aspect of thinking gets distorted because we apply this to things outside of our selves, rather than looking inward for our own creative expression.

Samuel then asked the group, "Is there a difference between book learning versus experential learning?" Alfred didn't think so. He feels like one can learn alot from books. Others agreed.

"Stories are good, but do they get you to the doing of it? Living? Carrying out your thoughts? Can they guide you alone?" Teachers often times use stories as a way to guide people towards the truth. But then, it depends on if the teacher him self is telling the truth. Or, is he giving false truths?

False ideas, manmade hopes, and what appears to be the truth can hurt many people. But, many people like illusions, dishonesty and half truths. Sometimes things sound so good that we think it is the truth. Truth many times has to be cloaked because people can't honestly deal or handle the truth. Truth is often times uncomfortable. So, we live with what we can handle.

Moving on to the next point, "What about experiential learning?" Do people learn from experience? Do we have to repeat the same mistake over and over in order to learn how to change our behavior? Do we apply what we learn in everyday life?

People don't want to take the time to learn how to let go of limited mindsets, preconceived notions, attitudes, beliefs or values. We don't have the time, patience, perseverance or courage.

The outer world stimulates us overwhelmingly. We find ways to become easily distracted. We focus on everything outside of our selves, but our selves. We seldom learn to care about our creative self or creative expression.

We live in perplexed times. People are impressionable. Everybody wants to do and be like everybody else, have what everybody else has. We are easily influenced by all that we see around us. The fast, mad pace continues to escalate.

Pretense and superficiality are high on the list. We learn to change our roles and masks as fast as the images change in our Society. We believe and are transfixed by the media and entertainment. We follow like sheep.

Yep, we are into mass thinking, mass hypnosis, mass production. Everybody wants it. The status symbols - the house, car, kids, job, etc.

To the true artist and creative person, the world looks totally different. Creative teachers see the multi-color differences of a person. The teacher can tap into the person and know what his true essence needs.

An authentic teacher will guide you to think and do for your self. Why do we not learn to balance left brain, right brain thinking? Do people even know what that means? Have they ever heard of this before? Why does everything always have to be explained, rather than figured out in silence?

So, we continue to keep the creative side of our selves under-developed; and go for solving problems through logic and analysis. "Real living teachers won't tell you how to think and do," say Samuel. One's way of thinking depends to what one is devoted to life in studying.

Next question, "So, how does one recognize and separate the genuine from the fake?" "Fool's Gold from Gold?" What does this mean? We know how to verbally reason, justify and be logical. We learn to use clichés such as, "be yourself," "look within," "love one another." We continue to search for guidance through books, religion, organizations. We learn that we are supposed to seek validation from God, the experts, friends, family, etc.

The group then bounced to talking about how do we navigate this body vehicle? We don't. We continue to pretend. We do everything to it, and don't go beyond just maintaining it. What is beyond maintaining? How does change come about? Does one need guidance or a teacher for making these changes? Is it really possible to change one's thinking and doing, physically and mentally, alone?

Where are you? How do you learn? What would push you beyond the edge of where you are at now? Are you more interested in just your world, or the picture as a whole? Is what is happening in the world affecting you are all???

I know there are lots of questions, but questions stimulate the thinking.

Are you more interested in instant gratification, achieving results? What do you gain from results? Are you enjoying the journey of living at all?

Hopefully, next Café we will either answer some of these questions, or have some meaningful conversation. Thank you for your patience. And if anyone out there would like to add to the conversation, or has thoughts on a particular subject, please e-mail me.

Our next Café gathering will be held August 5, 2000 at the Boulder Bookstore located at 1107 Pearl St. in Boulder, CO. Start time is 6:30 p.m. See you there!

Brings your friends and a good topic.

Reported by Alessandra

"Samuel brings awareness to the soul of people and gives the artists who work under his direction the need, dedication, and love for the world of silence and the beautiful art of movement."


- Marcel Marceau, BIP 1961

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About LCDS

LCDS is an independent school for self-discovery through the human Arts.  The school offers seminars and workshops teaching the concepts of Theater, Mime, and Movement.