LEARNING: behaviour modification resulting from the correction of non-fatal errors

Whilst it is possible to suggest certain scenarios, where learning appeared to take place instantly in the absence of error... like when the very first trial number sequence input into a combination safe turned out to be correct... never-the-less it remains an inescapable reality that virtually all learning is achieved in the context of a feed-back loop of error correction. Learning is the process of networking operational memories from the experiences of errors... which were small enough to recover from... and which become instrumental in modifying future behaviour in such a way as to reduce the size of any future error. The terminal characteristic of catastrophic errors brings all learning to an abrupt end and yet errors cannot be avoided if learning is to proceed. Most learning is involved in the development and acquisition of a sufficient number of skills... be it vision, hearing, language, walking, driving, sexual performance or whatever... to enable the individual to construct a conceptual existence model that is adequate for it's life circumstances.

The cycloid strategy is one of the most effective. Earlier learned skills are cyclically revisited and reinforced as new learning processes are attempted. Whether it is learning a language, training to fly an aeroplane or trying to grow cabbages, the systematic and periodic recycling of all relevant skills and material produces the most stable platform. The helix or spiral continues to diverge into new territory, whilst returning in some aspects to where it has been before. The cycloid continually revisits familiar regions and then diverges out and explores the new.

As well as being required to attain pragmatic skills, learning is also needed to cope with unfamiliar situations. Specifically focussed learning environments are needed to extend the individuals capacity to modify its operational world model to cope with situations for which it has not been conditioned. Most individuals need controlled training environments to enable learning about the blood and guts of surgery, war or accident carnage. Unfamiliarity with hosts of insects, snakes, sharks and the like make interacting with them difficult for many without a carefully gauged program of approximated learning. Being deposited unceremoniously from the culture of one's nurture into another of impenetrable motivations and behaviours is usually nothing less than traumatic.

Learning has to take place, of course, for the individual to be able to construct a world model for itself. What is absurdly prevalent in the ethnic and cultural arena however, is that the individual that has acquired the learning, is then likely to imbue its blatant subjectivity with a cosmic objectivity and aura of absolute certainty. In this manner most... if not all... of its idiosyncratic nature is entirely lost sight of, and the acquired reality model becomes the only one which the individual then considers that the rest of the world should understand and be required to adhere to. A member of one cultural group may be raised in a nurturing environment, which justifies and exploits the use of slaves as an operational world model and unquestioningly supports its continuation, totally oblivious to the alternative reality of the slaves. Other individuals may be indoctrinated from birth by the adult members of their group, about the transgressions and atrocities committed upon them and their ancestors by the hated neighbour enemy. They are mystified and confused, when travelling far afield and living with different peoples, that these others do not share or agree with their publicly expressed hate of their home-state adversaries.

Indoctrination is a malicious manipulation of the learning process. The education industries of state and religion are often the learning environments which custom design their populace to believe that local attitudes are universally justified. Death or exile very frequently remain as the only courses available to individual dissidents daring to deny the output of the propaganda machinery of the establishment.