On a Beach Walk: No. 14

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I like walking the beach as it is good for the body, mind, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

The vast water is the sea of knowledge – and the water seems unlimited. There is so much to know. Identifying the shells on the beach would be an accomplishment in itself – but a small one in a relative sense. Meanwhile, the body of knowledge continues to grow.

I think of Leonardo da Vinci who was remorseful in the final days of his life because there was so much more to learn that he didn’t know. In light of his accomplishments, what I know in today’s world seems so small.

The internet brings knowledge closer to us while phones have placed that knowledge at are fingertips and made it portable. I walk on a beach that is a world without wires, yet knowledge is a fingertip away in my pocket.

Today knowledge grows at an accelerated rate while technology changes even faster. I can’t imagine a life today of someone who has never embraced computers – let alone smartphones. That could be like a person trying to operate a sailboat in the deep waters without any sight of land and without prior knowledge of what to do.

That means no understanding of basic computer operations. No concept of entry and response. No clue of open, new, create, save, and retrieve. No idea of how information gets onto the cyber highway. No notion of seeking information that is fingertips away. No sense of determining the validity of information. A sense of being lost while staring over the vast water.

For those of us with knowledge of modern technology, technology changes – and as technology changes, we must also change – a change that must involve unlearning the old way and learning the new.

Water is a metaphor for changing technology. Change is trying to navigate in the raging waters of a storm while hoping for the status quo of calm waters. Change is also the calm water going across my feet – it’s continuous, expected, and always new – never the same as currents keep water moving.

In today’s fast-paced technological world, learning begins with unlearning – abandoning the way one knows. Unlearning to let the new way lead the way. Forgetting what was to let the new lead the way. Yes, old habits are hard to break, plus we have a tendency to protect ourselves from outward self-criticism. Nonetheless, unlearning is more important today than ever.

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. (Alvin Toffler, Future Shock, 1970)

Although a fast-paced technological world surrounds us, I am thankful for technology …. and I like walking the beach as it is good for the body, mind, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

21 thoughts on “On a Beach Walk: No. 14

  1. Ha that was a good beach walk musing session! Future Shock was a game changer for me back in the early 70’s Frank – it made a lasting impression. And as a teacher I know the statement you quote is true and accurate and that is why our modern education system is failing so many – education should be all about developing the skills and art of how to keep learning, being adaptive, multi skilled and interested in the world and all her peoples, not just passing tests and achieving grades. I do think the danger of Google and Wikipedia is that the knowledge gained is largely superficial. A thorough investigation into subjects of interest is good for the heart as well as the brain,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pauline,
      Glad you enjoyed my musing about knowledge during the walk. I’m right with you about the failing of our education system. I questioned it 30 years ago with your same points. Since then, the system has gone toward more about passing tests and less about adaptive skills. Here in the US, all driven by scoring around content standards.

      I also agree with your take about gaining knowledge through the internet. Yes, superficial in one way, but also extremely useful for finding the quick factoid. Almost as a verifier. On the other hand, yes, true knowledge gain involves a through investigation and that takes time … and yes, the internet can also serve as an important vehicle for that.

      Cheers to us for being on the same page!


  2. Despite your embraces of technology throughout what I consider to be your finest beach walk post yet, I plan not to have my cellphone, earbuds, Apple watch, or virtual reality visor on when I walk the Gulf Shore beaches in February.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I embrace both technology and beaches.

    I am not sure about unlearning. I like to think that learning is built upon previous knowledge.
    And there are many who find information on the Internet, but not necessarily knowledge.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Merril,
      Yes, learning builds upon previous knowledge, but unlearning is an important aspect – especially in a fast-paced world … and astute instructional designers are aware of its importance in certain learning situations.

      Regarding finding knowledge on the internet, most people will base their search on existing knowledge to find a pertinent bit of information. For instance, because I know extremely little about the 10th ruler of Persia, me finding that factoid would be only a tidbit because I have no context for it. However, if I was knowledge about the area and time period, the factoid is more than a tidbit because I could apply it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. As a geezer of 76, I can vouch for learn, unlearn, relearn. Each of the lives I lived required a new set of skills. I’m on my fourth version and still don’t feel I know enough. Onward and upward until that fifth release. (which will be the last) Super walk, Frank

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I enjoyed this walk, Frank. I spend a lot of time unlearning. Sometimes I think it’s harder than the learning part. 😀
    My husband does not have a smart phone nor does he know how to use one. He was part of the vanguard of this no-longer-new technology and has become so disenchanted with it that he avoids the use of computers and such when he isn’t working. He has no social media or online presence (smart guy!). When I accuse him of being a luddite or old-fashioned, he tells me he’s where he’s always been which is at the forefront of technology (in other words, he’s past the enchantment/addiction/need for it). Smart guy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Robin,
      I agree that unlearning is (at times) harder than learning. It some ways they are contradictory – one motivation about what will be while the other hands on to what was.

      Thanks for the info about your husband. Very interesting … and I too can see his point. I also find it interesting how different people latch onto different aspects of social media … and even change over time.


  6. I’m with you on these thoughts.
    However, I met an old man, I’d say 80 +, in a streetcar shelter. He was with his sweet dog. He looked at me and asked pleasantly, “wonder when the next car will get here?”
    I pointed up at the electronic info board and read, “4 minutes”.
    He was so surprised, that I that I didn’t know what to think. He told me he did not have a computer or phone or anything. He said he was happy, and happy was good enough.
    The streetcar arrived. He got on with his dog. The dog was very happy, too.
    I didn’t mention the TTC App.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I can’t imagine life without the technological advancements we rely upon, but I do yearn for a bit more simplicity. Walks on the beach are a wonderful way to experience a break from some of the demands of being tied to information technology. I do prefer just listening to the sound of waves and being left with my own thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Debra,
      Think of the changes we have lived … simply amazing … and the thoughts of where it is going is hard to imagine. Yet, when I go on vacation, especially when in Europe, I appreciate being disconnected.


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