The Enemy of Learning is Knowing

I stumbled across a quote the other day that is something to the effect of "knowing is the enemy of learning." Now at first, you might think this means that when a person thinks they know something, they shut themselves off from learning anything new when it comes to that particular thing. While this is true, I want to dig a little deeper than that.

What is knowledge exactly?

I believe knowledge is merely the best assumption that an individual can draw from seeing the outcomes of their actions within a given spectrum. As humans, we can never truly say we know something. Knowledge is always changing, take science for example. We are constantly discovering new species, new processes, new star systems, etc. These discoveries, sometimes lead to a new conclusion about what we proclaim to be "true". That's why most things fall under the category of scientific theory. But these concluded assumptions are everywhere, not just in science. You might think that you know the best way to do something, however, what you know is only based on your past. From reflecting on your actions and the results that followed, you can safely bet on the actions you need to take in the future. When people do this, they are trying to be efficient, but simultaneously they are blocking themselves from growing.

When it comes to what we assume to be true, we are all looking at the "facts" through our own personal filter. You could think of this filter as a belief system or a moral code that we follow. We constantly weigh new facts against what we have already assumed to be true. Through this comparison, we can distinguish the credibility of new information.

So if you conclude that knowledge is merely an assumption at best and that the assumption one makes is bias because it derives through an individual's filter, you can begin to see why knowledge is the enemy of learning. It explains why people become so confident in their beliefs to the point that they shut themselves off from even trying to understand the other side of things. People who do this allow the enemy to win.

In order to defeat the enemy, one must constantly assume that they know nothing to be certain...because they don't. They must always ask the question, "what can I learn from this?" And it is through this inquisitive and curious mindset that true learning prospers.

I'm writing this so you don't accidentally stunt your own growth. It is easy to fall into the trap of assuming you know something and the best way to do it. When you do, you feel safe. You feel in control. However, if you truly want to learn at an exponential rate, you must defeat the enemy. You must defeat your assumptions. You must humble yourself and become hungry for more information, for new mindsets, and for new temporary assumptions to be made.