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closing the gap between knowledge and action


Action-Knowledge is the real stuff. It comes about from having digested experience. Digested means making something you’ve seen part of you. Is it different from just copying? Well imitation is the beginning of learning, but digestion implies a ‘becoming something new’. I guess if you imitate generosity it is mechanical. When you have digested the need for generosity your capacity to use it beneficially to all around including yourself, will have increased. There is nothing weird and mystical about digestion. It happens naturally after any experience, as long as you don’t block it by filling the ‘space’ otherwise occupied with mundane stimulation or a new stimulation to pile on top of it. Travel aids the digestion process, as does being in unfamiliar situations.

The West focuses on closing the gap between ignorance and knowledge. That’s why school, university and the media are held in such high esteem. We are taught to see this gap between ignorance and knowledge as vast, but it’s actually very narrow. An ignorant man can be well informed after reading a few books and listening to the radio 4 Today program. But will he ACT on his new knowledge/information? Probably not. Because the really huge gap is between knowledge and action.

We get closer by gaining action-knowledge, either in a general form- habits and principles that aid action, but even more usefully, by learning how to code information into action-knowledge.

The first step, though, is acknowledging the gap between just knowing stuff and actually doing things with it.

I knew smoking was bad for me when I was 21. I read a book at 22 that gave me the tools to give up. But I didn’t give up completely until I was 42. I had all the information, but no action-knowledge to kick me forward into effective behaviour.

You find action-knowledge when your desire is refined by sincerity of purpose- you’re either desperate or so pissed off with failure that you’ll do ‘anything’ to succeed.

If you can tune in to sincerity without having to be desperate it makes accessing action- knowledge a lot easier. Instead of being the lovable boxer who has to be taunted and abused before he’s ‘angry’ enough to fight you can dial up fighting power anytime, anyplace.



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Reader Comments (1)

I think you are a bit over-optimistic about the extent to which we digest our experience. How many experiences do we have that we don't want to think about? Or experiences where we quickly stick a vaguely appropriate (or sometimes totally inappropriate) label on them, so we can move on and have the next experience? So I agree that digesting an experience so it becomes part of you is a huge thing, but unfortunately it is also probably rather rare :-)
September 15, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpaul johnston

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