The Path of Learning
I'm going to present a way of looking here that I feel helps when 'judging' things with relation to where someone is on a cycle, a path, of study and ability.
I will break it down into stages and number them accordingly from beginning study to end result. Steps if you like. I like to call these natural steps.
1) Gathering data.
You start with a purpose to learn and understand and a goal to attain ability So you read, you go to class, you gather data. Now some people do a lot of reading and a lot of gathering data and can even be a walking volume of data but alas this is only step one. So where are we when we do this? What do we have?
Well, we have knowledge. We have reached the dizzy heights of knowledge. We have a body of knowledge.
2) Mental application.
Then we try to see how this knowledge fits with the in life thing we are studying and where we see it making sense we enter mental understanding. So we have progressed to mental understanding.
Now we practice. We practice applying that mental understanding to the real life thing. We start gaining a real understanding. We also start gaining some basic ability.
We continue with the above three and dependent solely on our discipline increase our level of ability.
Now this is where it get's interesting. We reach a condition of competence.
Now I am quite competent at writing freehand. That's as far as I took that path to. I can safely say I am competent at writing. I am competent at cooking. That's all. That's where I am. That's my level.
Now interestingly enough this shows competence as let's say the first plateau. I can tie my shoe laces and that's good enough for me. Now what happened to all that data I had to keep in my 'skull' to do with how to draw letters, connect sounds, join letters etc. etc. It's gone. I threw it all away. I now have the skill and at that point I can release myself from all that data.
What's also interesting here is that I might want to go past mere competence on some things and that shows us there are other 'conditions' to be reached if we choose.
Someone comes along and says 'can you do that for others?' Mmmmm. Can you go cook for others, be a chef? Can you write for others? Mmmm. Suddenly I see to do so for others brings in what I don't know and what else I would need to learn. So if I choose to I would be entering the next phase of this path. What would that lead to? Confidence.
Just imagine a car mechanic. He may be competent but in a garage where you have many different cars coming in his aim would then be to reach confidence.
Even here he may have many 'tools' at his disposal like books and other things where he may have to look a few things up but he is confident in his ability to go through step by step and handle any car.
Now someone comes along and says 'he's very good and reliable but Bill over there is a different class' Bill is not only confident but has some added qualities and goes about his work happily unruffled, nothings a problem and sees the cars almost as blank canvasses needing an aesthetic touch. They are not problems or enemies but friends needing a bit of tlc. When you see such a person at work you cannot but admire their flow.
He has taken his skills to the next level and at that level they become art.
Is there a level above artist? I call that the level of Master.
A master has become at one with the universe in which he or she operates. While others are testing the cars to see what's wrong with them the master merely looks at turns on the engine and somehow sees what's wrong. He can handle any car, any time, anywhere and has that 'magic' touch.
Now there may be some missing steps there. There are almost certainly many missing qualities that could be added to the relevant conditions but I think it could be a useful guideline.