On Learning – by Krishnamurti

On Learning – by Krishnamurti

This is an excerpt from http://www.jkrishnamurti.org/


Authority Prevents Learning


We generally learn through study, through books, through experience, or through being instructed. Those are the usual ways of learning. We commit to memory what to do and what not to do, what to think and what not to think, how to feel, how to react. Through experience, through study, through analysis, through probing, through introspective examination, we store up knowledge as memory; and memory then responds to further challenges and demands, from which there is more and more learning. What is learned is committed to memory as knowledge, and that knowledge functions whenever there is a challenge, or whenever we have to do something.Now I think there is a totally different way of learning, and I am going to talk a little bit about it; but to understand it, and to learn in this different way, you must be completely rid of authority; otherwise, you will merely be instructed, and you will repeat what you have heard. That is why it is very important to understand the nature of authority. Authority prevents learning -learning that is not the accumulation of knowledge as memory. Memory always responds in patterns; there is no freedom. A man who is burdened with knowledge, with instructions, who is weighted down by the things he has learned, is never free. He may be most extraordinarily erudite, but his accumulation of knowledge prevents him from being free, and therefore he is incapable of learning. – J. Krishnamurti, The Book of Life

Learning Has No Past


Wisdom is something that has to be discovered by each one, and it is not the result of knowledge. Knowledge and wisdom do not go together. Wisdom comes when there is the maturity of self-knowing. Without knowing oneself, order is not possible, and therefore there is no virtue.Now, learning about oneself, and accumulating knowledge about oneself, are two different things. A mind that is acquiring knowledge is never learning. What it is doing is this: It is gathering to itself information, experience as knowledge, and from the background of what it has gathered, it experiences, it learns; and therefore it is never really learning, but always knowing, acquiring.Learning is always in the active present; it has no past. The moment you say to yourself, “I have learned,” it has already become knowledge, and from the background of that knowledge you can accumulate, translate, but you cannot further learn. It is only a mind that is not acquiring, but always learning, it is only such a mind that can understand this whole entity that we call the “me,” the self. I have to know myself, the structure, the nature, the significance of the total entity; but I can’t do that burdened with my previous knowledge, with my previous experience, or with a mind that is conditioned, for then I am not learning, I am merely interpreting, translating, looking with an eye that is already clouded by the past. – J. Krishnamurti, The Book of Life

On teaching and identity

It is important to keep in mind that, despite all our good intentions, we may still remain trapped in the cultural framework from which we have emerged and in which we operate. This means that we construct our professional identity as teachers not as freely as we may think, and frame it so as it conforms to the established context, which remains for the most part unchallenged and is self-perpetuating. We need to keep in mind that in some cases “the self participates in its own subjugation and domination whether it is through ‘false consciousness’ produced by membership of a particular social group, or the internalisation of social ‘oppression’ through individual ‘repression’ ”. (Chappell et al, 2003, p. 6) The challenge for me, as a teacher participating in a professional context is to recognize such dynamics when engaging in mindful reflection.



by: Walt Whitman

On the beach at night alone

As the old mother sways her to and fro singing her husky song,
As I watch the bright stars shining, I think a thought of the clef of the universes and of the future.

A vast similitude interlocks all,
All spheres, grown, ungrown, small, large, suns, moons, planets,
All distances of place however wide,
All distances of time, all inanimate forms,
All souls, all living bodies though they be ever so different, or in different worlds,
All gaseous, watery, vegetable, mineral processes, the fishes, the brutes,
All nations, colors, barbarisms, civilizations, languages,
All identities that have existed or may exist on this globe, or any globe,
All lives and deaths, all of the past, present, future,
This vast similitude spans them, and always has spann’d,
And shall forever span them and compactly hold and enclose them.

Literature Review – reflections

Here are some thoughts on what I think/feel I gained from writing the lit review.

I think the writing process has helped me in several ways:

1) to gain insight into available scholarly work;

2) to explore available terminology and theories;

3) to articulate how we (the researcher) and our research interface with 1 & 2;

4) to thin out not-so-relevant literature and bring to the fore the one that will inform our research;

5) to use the literature to re-formulate (clarify?) our research question and extrapolate some specific questions that – in the case of a qualitative design – would then be put to the respondents.

Literature review

Link to forum (log-in required)


There is a large body of literature in my research area, stemming from as diverse fields as linguistics, anthropology, education, communication, psychology and cultural studies. It has extensively explored transcultural sojourners’ experience, levels of participation in their new cultural environment, and relevant stages of personal change, e.g. intercultural contact, reflection, adaptation stress, self-shock, disintegration, acculturation, learning, increased cultural and intercultural awareness, development of intercultural communication competence, and personal growth.

The focus of my research will be on people’s subjective experiences and interpretations of them, and its goal is to explore the factors that contribute to the nurturing and maintenance of multicultural identity in the respondents’ experience as long-term transcultural sojourners. Reviewing the literature will be done iteratively at several stages of the research as a way to link the interviewees’ experience with existing scholarly work.


Bryman suggests that a narrative review is better suited for this kind of interpretative qualitative research (p. 94). In consideration of the design of my research, a narrative review will serve much better than a systematic review. Using a narrative review format will facilitate a critical approach to the very large body of literature available on the topic and at the same time it will allow me to approach my research without imposing existing categories on my findings. I will be able to use the literature narrative review to inform my research without it clouding the phenomenological nature of the interviews.


I have decided to do a narrative literature review, as I believe that the role of my literature review is to inform my inquiry by providing me with valuable information on relevant issues, and help me generate understanding through a process of discovery. In adherence to the phenomenological, hermeneutic research design adopted for my thesis, I won’t superimpose the literature review on the data/findings. This means that an effective literature review can only be outlined at a later stage, so that it will assist at the stage of data analysis and interpretation. To begin with an already structured literature review could unduly burden my approach to both data collection (the interviews questions) and analysis.


George Simons of diversophy.com is working on a project initiated by SIETAR EUROPE to “initiate the conversation on ‘What is intercultural competence.’  The intention is to direct this discussion and the resources we are able to develop into a certification program for interculturalists.

More info at: http://www.diversophy.com/ic_comp/index.html

Here are some reflections on the topic. After re-reading paper after paper, it’s clear to me that a lot of what has been written on intercultural competence reads like reinventing the wheel. And so more and more definitions and labels are now available, but they still do not seem to make a dent into the role of intercultural communication in addressing urgent and practical issues in today’s world.

I believe that the level of IC competence we are trying to envision is one that goes beyond by-now known available taxonomies, to which increasingly wider audiences may respond with a sense of boredom.

One aspect of such competence that I am interested in is the level of supracultural synthesis that it could imply. Would the IC competence emerging from an increasingly intertwined world benefit from an approach rooted in Chaos Theory, as suggested by Casmir? In other words, is IC competence more about understanding and flowing with the dynamics developing in IC situations, rather than being about mechanistic knowledge of fixed cultural traits? One thing for sure: one cannot possibly develop a well-rounded and dynamic competence as long as this is made to depend on factual and rather essentialist descriptions of others’ reality. Real and dynamic IC competence, in my view, emerges from reflective, experiential learning stemming from dealing with the nuances, traps, and dynamics inherent in IC situations. We do not need a directory of “cultural differences to learn about” (although that has its merit, too); we might instead benefit from a new paradigmal approach to IC communication, which – like you say – would be outspokenly interdisciplinary, hardly scientific (in the way the hard sciences are), and widely chaotic with regards to predictability, ambiguity and definitions.


Published at http://www.diversophy.com/ic_comp/Componentsofculturalcompetence.html#Topic6

Safe landing! And Happy B-day, Australia!

Kia ora my fellow ocean travellers!

As we approach the landing site after sailing across the seven seas, I just want to say: It was a pleasant journey!

And as I ponder over the experience, I wonder whether we have all reached the Happy Isles. Hopefully, we won’t get there in a disarray, as it was the case with the epic First Fleet after its arrival on the fair land of OZ, an event remembered each year at the upcoming January 26 Australia Day celebrations.

When the First Fleet left Botany Bay to sail north in search of a better future (little they knew that Sydney Harbour was just around the bend), they paraded before French Captain La Perouse’s expedition. The following is an account of what happened, excerpted from a great book, The Fatal Shore, by Robert Hughes:

“The departing English now gave the French a spectacular show of fumbling.  Friendship rammed Prince of Wales, losing her jib boom. Charlotte nearly ran on the rocks, clawed off and cannoned into Friendship. Lady Penrhyn just avoided ramming her amidships.”

….the birth of a nation!!!

Wish you all a safe docking, and see you on land.

Ka kite ano!

The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks;
The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends.
‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.

It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles……

Ulysses, by Alfred Tennyson

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