Undoubtedly, one of the main problems of the Information Age is information. How we can select, digest, interpret, learn and transfer it the most effectively? For example, it’s crucial in any form of learning, but especially in online learning, to be sure a student has really understood a topic and got the meaning the authors have intended to convey. It’s equally important when we come to personal development: how to find a sure ground in the overwhelming chaos of theories, movements, views and possibilities constantly present around us?
One of the hints comes from Merab Mamardashvili, a Georgian/Russian philosopher who introduced the idea of “Perception Cone” — an evolving field of findividual experience.
It’s clear that our perception doesn’t hold all the information we are able to perceive — in fact, we ignore the most of it. Our perception, our ability to feel, experience, be alive, are, Mamardashvili says, inside some cone which doesn’t coincide with the set of external objects around us. For example, you can listen to radio without actually hearing anything, but instantly hear a song that moves you. In the same way, if you try reading a book that isn’t interesting to you, its contents is just inaccessible to you. It looks like the way we communicate with the world is via a sort of “speaking things”, impressions or dream particles which arise in us interest, emotions and motivation. We can learn and work productively only within our inner cone, as all unrelated information will be screened anyway. That cone grows basing on growing personal experience (not on cramming).
Then, the first task of learning is to transfer knowledge and skills from an external state of impersonal “information” to the inner perception cone of anindividual , making them accessible for further exploration. Accordingly, the first task of self development is to realize your cone, to track the path of your personal evolution, your relationships and ideas history. That means that the half of the time we spend to learning new things should, in fact, be spent to getting the meaning from the experience we’ve already got.
The most important secret of life isn’t hidden somewhere in the head of a Grandmaster who has to reveal it to us. The most important secret is that we already know all the most important.