Unlearning

leaf throwersThroughout our lives, we have all been plied with misinformation by the dominant culture, some of which has become internalized. Thus, we have come to believe it to be true. "Men are more intelligent than women" or "Black people are less diligent than white people" are just two possible examples. These 'memes', or pieces of thinking that, like biological genes, have the capacity to reproduce from generation to generation, interfere with our capacity to emerge truly intelligent human cultures.

Indeed, we have seen throughout history that even progressive projects designed to expose and eradicate sexist and racist memes are prone to deteriorate as these memes reassert themselves in times of stress, often with surprising vigor. It would seem that simply deciding that these beliefs are counter-productive is not enough to pull them out by their roots. Some far-reaching, deeper process that goes beyond mere thinking is required.

At Gaia University we actively encourage ourselves to uncover any dysfunctional memes we may have acquired, by whatever means, and then consciously and energetically see that they are uninstalled – deconstructed and unlearned – from our personal operating systems, so that we may recover our full intelligences for the benefit of the planet. We favor a process known as re-evaluation counseling and offer training courses in the fundamentals of this powerful and effective process.

Thus, we each move towards a plasticity and quietness of mind from which a person is capable of flexing into a place of fresh thinking, appropriate to the unique circumstances of the moment. Bill Mollison, joint founder of the permaculture movement, describes this way of thinking in his book, Permaculture a Designer's Manual, as ‘vuja dé' – the complete certainty that you have never been in this situation ever before and, therefore, original thinking is required.