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The psalmist:"You are totally miraculously made!"

What Is Learning?

I would like to argue that the three components of learning are acquisition, internalization and 'personalization'. One has to acquire knowledge, internalize skills and personalize expertise, for instance. The first one is obvious. I speak of internalization in the sense of making something one's own. One puts it inside one's 'head'. Personalization of expertise ranges from choosing one's personal field of study to finding one's niche in life.

This little schematic study is based on my description of the heart of the human personality, consisting of memory, language and consciousness. As there, also in this survey there are nine cross sections with each their introverted and extraverted sides. One can discover a microcosm hiding behind every aspect of that schema.





intellectual growth

intellectual ownership


works and name in life




personal discoveries



expertise/ specialization



learning to learn







(theoretical) application

scholars and scientists as personal examples


field work

personal studies



If one learns to be dependent on the Lord and keep an open mind and heart, then one will discover that one's intelligence is not static but dynamic. One can continue to grow. However, if one wax haughty one is bound to become lethargic and stilted. I am talking about understanding in one's Christian life, c.q. the expertise in one's discipline; not about a more or less fixed intelligence quotient.

Works and name in life.

We are all witnesses and examples of life. How are we seen by people? How are we remembered?

Personal Discoveries

If one is 'lucky' (luck favors the prepared mind) in life, one can be led to discoveries. More often than not this takes an arduous road of trial and error.

Expertise/ Specialization

Before one becomes an expert, one has to go through enormous reams of learning and years of practice. This usually takes decades of dedication and effort.


With the term personalia here I attempt to denote those personal characteristics that enable one to be a teacher, be it by a living example and/or by communicating skills for example. Among those characteristics are diligence, dedication, empathy, patience and being supportive of people. These are virtues that are to be acquired through experience and love of learning in this case.


Disco docens, I learn by teaching. Teaching ought to be motivated by the love to share and impart learning. The concept of teacher is an emotive idea like mother or father. It is an holistic idea to be grasped by the soul rather than by the mind. The mind analyzes and synthesizes through inductive and deductive reason, but the soul feels.

Personal Examples

Every student has his own scholars or scientists that he cherishes as examples for his personal career.

Personal Studies

Anybody in life that is not content with a mediocre existence, must have personal ambitions. Education in any area is part of life and ideally goes on indefinitely.


Practice makes perfect, but set-backs overcome drills one for wisdom.


Skills can range from performing a physical balancing act to executing an extraordinary operation or surgery.

Learning to learn

To be able at learning, one has to get accustomed to discipline and regular exercise of the mind. Just like an athlete one has to get into the habit of internalizing strength and endurance.


The learning of theory is all part of internalizing any science and study of any subject (in a larger context).

(Theoretical) Application

Applied science of any kind (whether it be chemistry or psychology ((which is a liberal art; one could make a case that the humanities are a subset of the liberal arts)) ) ultimately is meant to serve a greater good, for instance in inventing medical, technological machines.

Field Work

Field Work is an important part of acquiring learning. It can range from intellectual exercise to laboratory experiments in a space station.


One becomes prepared not only by learning and 'testing the waters', but also by a positive attitude.


Practice makes perfect. Through habitual exercise of one's abilities one learns increasingly and one improves one's skills. Plying your trade can also be a metaphor for spiritual activities such as evangelizing and shepherding.


Understanding the jargon of one's field of expertise of course goes beyond mere memorization of concepts and the knowledge of ideas.


Jargon is the language peculiar to a discipline of science. This can also be a metaphor for the religious expression 'a church's language of Canaan'.


Knowledge is acquired through memorizing concepts, ideas, terms, words, formulas and what have you. It goes beyond mere memorization and comes before jargon as the latter is a specialty beyond (general) knowledge (which in turn is one of the bases for comprehension).


Memorization is the process of committing information to memory. There are various ways of memorization ranging from games to reading or audio-visual learning.

There seems to be something like convection occurring in the ranks of the above schema. Like hotter and colder fluids or gases, the energy of activity goes back and forth between the aspects of this microcosm. Like energy levels they rise and fall. And also here equilibrium and rhythm are in order.

One day we will know as we have been known, but now we look as it were through a dim window at an enigma (v. 1 Cor. 13).

See also our chart on an anthropology of the personality. It deals shortly with the conscience, the will and the heart.

The apostle Paul: "Let nobody deceive himself, if somebody thinks he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise (1 Cor. 3.18)!"



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