Deep Learning

Information is so readily available on Google and YouTube that people hardly have to pay attention to discover how and why things work as they do. There is no real motivation to spend hours, days, or months (years?) to thoroughly understand something to its core. This lack of desire for deep learning seems to have eroded our sense of wonder and amazement of the world around us.

This lackadaisical attitude seems to also have affected people’s ability to discern between right and wrong, between what is true or false…blindly accepting information that looks legitimate and never looking beneath the surface to see if it is simply a facade for panhandling opinions and products. We need to learn how to ask meaningful questions that will awaken a deeper understanding of what is actually going on.

While questions are the foundation of deep learning, paying attention to details will help us make connections to new ideas…each new understanding is a building block towards something greater and affects change on everything to come. If we haven’t had to follow the leads or wander through a maze unsure of where it will take us…if we have settled for the quick answer, we will have lost the satisfaction that comes through the struggle of discovery. Going through this process will help us develop skills that can be used in many other situations in life.

Years ago I had someone come into my home to set up a new computer. While he worked, I paid attention and asked lots of questions about what he was doing. Later that day, something went wrong and the computer had to be reset…thankfully I remembered enough of what the technician had done to be able to fix the problem. In paying attention to details and learning as much as I could about how things worked, I was able to problem-solve and fix it myself.

For someone to become a mechanic they will need to pay close attention to all of the parts and learn how they are connected together. Once they truly understand, through trial and error, they will gradually gain the confidence to put a vehicle together correctly. This learning process is true for all creative, hands-on types of jobs and can also be applied to the challenges of mind, soul and spirit.

It is important to never lose an opportunity to learn something because there may be a use for it in the future. Too often we are afraid to ask questions because we don’t want to reveal what we don’t know…but the fact is, that is what learning is all about! We may begin with a simple question, which will help us to focus our attention. As we go deeper into a situation or problem, the unnecessary clutter in our mind will fall away to reveal only those things that are important…that is when real learning begins.

Deep learning does not ever end…at least it shouldn’t if we want our mind to continue operating at its optimum for the rest of our life. If we embrace learning with the awe and wonder of a child, we’ll find greater meaning in, and appreciation for, what is all around us.