Learning through patterns

What is pattern learning?

It is a method of acquiring knowledge. In this method, you acquire knowledge purely through observation. You see patterns in your observation to gain knowledge about the world. You use the analytical part of your mind to do this.

Pattern learning happens without using the thinking part of your mind. For example, you gain knowledge about how a motorcycle works by riding it for several years. In this time you will gain knowledge about the different parts of it when they break down. You will make connections between parts and their purpose by seeing patterns in the behaviour of the motorcycle when a particular part breaks down. In time you will become an expert in motorcycles.

The same knowledge can be gained using the thinking part of the mind. This is intellectual knowledge. For example, you can gain knowledge about how a motorcycle works by reading the manufacturer’s manual. You can gain this knowledge without observation. You can gain this knowledge without ever riding a motorcycle. You will also be an expert in motorcycles.

How pattern learning works?

The analytical mind looks for patterns in observations of your daily life. These patterns become facts for your mind. For example, if you observe that your boss frequently disrespects people, your mind will observe a pattern and form a fact that your boss is a mean person. The mind constantly forms new facts and updates old facts. For example, if you observe that your boss is not mean to everyone, then your mind will start reevaluating the fact that your boss is a mean person. The mind builds advanced facts based on basic facts. For example, once your mind forms a fact that the scientific method is an objective method of inquiry, it will then only form facts which are scientific. Your mind will reject patterns which are not scientific even if you directly observe them.

The basic facts of your mind are not permanent. The analytical mind has no reason to hold on to them. It only accepts facts based on patterns in observation. So if you observe that scientific discoveries do not concur with your experience, your analytical mind will start reevaluating the basic fact that science is an objective method of inquiry.

The exact mechanism of how the analytical mind sees patterns in observation will not be visible to your conscious mind. Sometimes a pattern will be seen in a single observation. Sometimes numerous observations will be required to see a pattern. This mechanism works based on strength of existing facts and the strength of observation. A basic fact may take numerous weak observations or one strong observation to be overwritten. This mechanism is invisible and uncontrollable by you.

The uncontrollable nature of pattern knowledge is both its limitation and its best feature. It is a limitation as knowledge growth is slow and biased based on experience. But it self corrects. Any wrong fact will eventually be updated based on patterns in subsequent observation. The uncontrollable nature of this knowledge is its best feature as it shields it from your personal bias.

What makes pattern knowledge better than intellectual knowledge?


Pattern knowledge is more useful than intellectual knowledge

Knowledge from patterns affect you at an unconscious level. You will not need to think to use it. For example, once you gain knowledge of a motorcycle from years of riding, you will instantly diagnose a problem without even thinking. Pattern knowledge will intuitively give you the diagnosis. It will be instant. Your decisions will be quick. Intellectual knowledge on the other hand is not as useful. You will need to use thinking to use it. Your decisions will be slow. They may also not reflect your intellectual knowledge as emotions can create errors in your thinking. For example, you might make a mistake in diagnosing a motorcycle problem because you feel a negative emotion for not being able to solve the problem quickly.

Pattern knowledge will help you learn

When you were young, you primarily acquired knowledge through pattern learning. You learned to walk and talk by observing patterns in others. You would have learned your native language easily without memorising grammar rules. You picked it up from seeing others talk. But you will find it difficult to learn a new language once you become an adult. This is because you primary method of acquiring knowledge as an adult is intellectual knowledge. A new language is too complicated for intellectual knowledge to grasp. The grammar rules will be too complicated to remember and use. So you will find it difficult to learn a new language as an adult. But you can do it easily using pattern knowledge. You can move to a country which speaks the language you want to learn. You will learn the language by conversing everyday with people. You will not need grammar tables.

Pattern knowledge will help you solve personal problems

To solve a problem you need knowledge of the system in which the problem exists. In case of personal problems, you need knowledge of yourself to solve them. Acquiring knowledge about yourself is not easy. This is where pattern knowledge has an advantage over intellectual knowledge. Intellectual knowledge of yourself will be heavily biased. This is because emotions affect your intellectual view of yourself. For example, you will feel a negative emotion when you observe that you made a mistake. Your intellect will get affected by this emotion and will try to reject the observation. It will use an intellectual explanation to reject the observation. For example, you will blame your mistake on others or label it as a rare mistake. Because of this evasive tendency of intellectual knowledge you might never acquire knowledge about your flaws. Without that knowledge you cannot work on your flaws. You will see the result of your flaws but not the cause. For example, you will observe that you repeatedly make bad choices in career, but you will not understand why you do it. Pattern knowledge is not affected by emotions. So it doesn’t have the evasive tendency of intellectual knowledge. You will learn about your flaws. You will also learn the reasons behind your flaws. You will understand how you work. You will see the reason behind all your problems. This knowledge is your wisdom. It is the key for personal development. For example, you will see a pattern in how you make career decisions based on money. You will also see that such a career gives you misery. You will also see a pattern in how money doesn’t give you lasting happiness. Then it will become clear to you that making career decisions based on money is not good for you.

How to harness pattern learning?

Pattern learning is an unconscious process. You cannot harness it forcefully. You cannot use thought to harness it. It is a skill you already have. But you don’t use it due to emotions. Emotions stifle your observation. This stifling of emotions stop you from seeing patterns. For example, when you realize you made a mistake, you might reject the observation because you feel a negative emotion about the observation. The observation never reaches your analytical mind. Therefore, your analytical mind never sees a pattern in your mistakes. To stop this, you need to be unperturbed by emotions. When you are unperturbed by emotions, they will not stifle your observation. You will still feel negative emotions but they will not stifle your observation. You will accept observations unconditionally. They will reach your analytical mind. Your analytical mind will see patterns in them. You will learn through patterns.

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