There can be similarities between two things or two persons but never sameness. For example, even when they have so much morphological similarities that make them not easily distinguishable physically, identical twins have two physical marks: retina and fingerprints whose scrutiny can reveal their individual identity, hence, uniqueness. Uniqueness is the nature’s way of telling that everything and everyone are different, with each having a raison d’être. This nature’s rule is all-pervading across both tangible and intangible things — every physical as well as non-physical existence has unique individual identity. Uniqueness is a sign of difference! In this blog, I am looking at a couple of these inherently different yet strikingly similar intangible twins: strength & health and education & learning.
Are strength and health one and the same? They are not, and even though they have similarities, each possesses uniqueness that makes it different. Strength of a man is the sum total of his physical and mental powers, and health is the sum up of his physical and mental well being. In other words, being in a state of physical and mental wellness is health while strength is the harnessed-power of body and mind. Strength can contribute to health, but strength alone is not health as the latter has additional contributory elements to it.
Wellness is being in harmony with oneself as well as with the surroundings. Mental wellness is the reflection of what goes into your thoughts — healthy thoughts produce a mind of wellness. Mental wellness is a prerequisite for physical wellness. Sweating it out at gymnasium can make you strong but not necessarily healthy; keep your mind in healthy thoughts, your body will follow. A man, through his deliberate choice of harmony over disharmony for his mind — hence, consequently for his body — will also clock harmony with his surroundings.
Elon Musk is a global icon of breathtaking entrepreneurial skills and disruptive thinking. One such innovative thinking: he is ready to recruit a school dropout for a high-profile job provided that the person demonstrates deep learning of the subject, which Musk tries to understand by asking intelligent questions that also include the ones unrelated to the functional domain.
“There is no need even to have a college degree at all, or even high school,” Musk said in 2014 during an interview with the German automotive publication ‘Auto Bild’ about his hiring preferences. He is saying at point-blank that education is not relevant but learning is. With such an approach, Musk is looking for a ‘learnt person,’ not an educated person, and the underlying assumption behind this approach is that education and learning are not one and the same.
Though there is some level of clarity about their distinguishability, many fall prey to the ambiguity and do mistake learning for education. Education and learning are not one and the same as education is only one of the ways toward acquiring knowledge — the end result of learning. But it is not necessary that an educated person is a learnt person. That is why we call someone, who possesses knowledge and demonstrates it through intelligent thinking and wise decisions, as a ‘learnt person,’ not an educated person.
Nothing stops an uneducated man from learning from his experience and turning himself into a learnt person while it is possible that an educated one can miss learning from the education and continue to live a life of educated-ignorance. Why so? Because getting educated is a social obligation thrust upon a man by his kith and kin while learning is an individual choice.
Learning has two steps: acquire and learn from knowledge; and learn from the learning. One needs to travel from the first step to the second step through volition and practice. The second step is highly rewarding as it is the place where learning keeps all its valuable trophies. Learning from the learning gives a man the power to understand a different, brand-new and difficult situation easier and faster. All the wise quotes and philosophical discourses from the luminaries of yesteryears are the results of the learning from the learning.
It is a default design of our character that we notice and take note of the differences — uniqueness — among the tangibles even when they have astonishing similarities but often miss the uniqueness of intangibles. It is difficult to exhume the uniqueness of intangibles, for they do not come in shapes and sizes but as concepts, with only virtual existence in our thought process, resulting in a situation where we might mistake one for the other. Such mistakes come with a cost, sometimes heavy, on us as we hardly realise the wrong selection, hence, keep living with something though the actual requirement is something else. This may be damaging as ‘that something’ not only can not meet our needs but also gives us, without our cognisance, a pseudo-satisfaction of correct selection.