July 21, 2017

Sometimes Learning is About Unlearning

I’ve been listening to Brian Wilson’s book: I am Brian Wilson. A Memoir.

Something he said near the end really struck me: :

“You’d think that by the time I got to 60, I would have learned almost everything about singing. But that turned out not to be true at all.

I kept learning. And lots of that is about unlearning.”

I feel the same way.  So much of what I’ve learned later in life about art, photography and especially about myself, has come about as a result of unlearning something.

As you have gotten older and wiser, have you found yourself unlearning anything?


P.S.  If you don’t know who Brian Wilson is, you’re probably pretty young and haven’t started unlearning things yet, you’re still working on the learning part!


3 thoughts on “Sometimes Learning is About Unlearning

  1. Cole,

    I have this theory about aging and knowledge. As folks get older (i.e., above 60), they seem to fall into one of two camps (actually, extremes on a continuum probably). The first group believes they have lived long, learned a lot, seen about everything there is to see and there is little left to learn. The other group comes to realize how very little they really know in the grand scheme of things. The first group has little interest in learning as they age, the latter group has a lot of interest in learning (and, by default, unlearning some things that they thought were true but have discovered not to be). Of course, folks fall all along the continuum but these two extremes seem to be quite prevalent. “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” if “When I Grow Up” I could be like the latter. That would be “Fun, Fun, Fun”.

  2. Great post. I’m over 60 by quite a bit and hav ediscovered that unlearning is as difficult if not more so than learning. Old habits die hard,, new habits of thought and behavior are reluctant to be persistent in their endeavor to become a part of us. The old and the new are at war within it seems. Persistence pays. Patience wins the day.

  3. Cole,

    Thanks for sharing my friend! I am older now (73) not old. I wish I knew then what I know now. If I make it longer still, I wish what I learn tomorrow(s) I know today. What I find compelling today is that father time has a way of demanding me to unlearn; it’s called dementia. It happens to all of us in different degrees. I accept it but I move on because time also is a great teacher……He has taught me patience, to laugh at myself everyday, walk through doors when they open, move on from my previous career in medicine and teaching, and now love and have fun with fine art photography. But, never forget the past for it is who I am today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *