Friday, October 28, 2011

The Turtle and Learning

Once frightened by a turtle you will be frightened by the lid of a kettle. What we feared in the past, the look-alike will do the same in the present. With these words, the desk columnist of the Catholic Times introduces what he calls the learning syndrome: what has been learned in the past, if similar to what is being learned in the present and the connections and differences are not noted will greatly influence our present actions.

For example, learning to operate a machine will facilitate the use of another machine later on, each learning experience bringing about a change that prepares us to respond more efficiently for the next learning experience. Even the most primitive of people when seeing a recurring natural event such as black clouds have learned to 'read' the signs and go to high ground.

A recurring modern example, and a chronic problem in developed societies, is speculating in real estate. We have learned that the price of real estate in our country does not decline but steadily moves up, which encourages even more speculation.

As members of the Church we have learned many things about the disciples of Jesus. The columnist wants us to focus on the rich young man mentioned in Scripture. According to the standards of today, he would be an outstanding example of youth. However, he is shown to be one who missed the central teaching of life. He lacked love. He was like the farmer who never harvests.

In our society, we have an excess of those Christians who have more than what the rich young man enjoyed. They fear that giving up material possessions will result in losing everything worth having. What makes matters worse is that they think they are in the right, even though they are doing the opposite of what Jesus taught.

We have heard that a little learning is a dangerous thing, a reminder that we often deceive ourselves by thinking we know more than we know. The columnist finds fault even with the leaders of opinion in the Church for making it difficult to go deeper into what we believe. Without the necessary correct  learning, it will be difficult to live the true Christian life.

However, even correct teaching from experience is not always followed by correct learning and living. This has too often been seen. Not learning to be vulnerable and surrendering to God prevents us from accepting all that God wants us to learn.

No comments:

Post a Comment