Learning By Example

One thing that could be an inhibitor, in this form of learning, could be a “fear of comparison” which is sometimes given as a prime motivator for jealousy and envy. It seems (to me) that it is probably inspired by seeing oneself as “better or worse than” other people. These other people may know something which I don’t and; I may know other things than they don’t – collectively or individually. However, If I limit my data prior to making such an erroneous judgement then, I may see myself as only better and/or worse than while my egotism and low self esteem stretch my viewpoint into an (impractically) broader perspective.
A handy saying here; “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” but, is one imitating to impress, imitating to be inspired, imitating to memorize rather than to learn, imitating for some other low or high quality purpose. This could well lead to another saying; “Flattery will get you nowhere”; where flattery is the objective and not (as mentioned in the first quote) sincere and therefore a by-product.
I have read that the Inuit people; formerly known by a foreign (to them) name – Eskimo; in their original culture taught strictly by example and that it was an unwritten, and usually unspoken, rule that younger people were not to be taught interactively. It appears that this worked so well for them; and perhaps in similar cultures. In cultures with such an extremely harsh environment, as the Inuit lived in, it was quite obvious that survival was very dependent on careful attention to detail – such as when observing the lessons that were actually the deeds being performed around the young people.
Another harsh environment that encouraged learning by example (although my research hasn’t turned up much quantitative data on the significance of this learning in the culture in that environment) is the N’de or Apache (given as an opposing culture’s word for enemy that the N’de were said to cherish for the respectful fear it showed) who’s territory tended to include much more desert than most North American First Nations, thus creating a greater attention for detail due to survival of the fittest.
Mangus Colorado; who was a great Chief among the N’de a generation prior to the, better known, Cochise and Geronimo; was reported to use what science terms “thought experiments” so well that it almost always needed no subjective testing before application. Indeed, the entire culture was said to rank this as a virtue to be strived for.
Many (most, all?) cultures moved toward a less punishing and, therefore, inspiring environment as they progressed and so; progressively lost some of the ability to discern which applications of attention to detail were about sufficient data and which were merely confusing. Perhaps the term, “Too much information” is sometimes used constructively in encouraging the learner to use their initiative to have sufficient data (as opposed to letting distorted egotism take them away from the truth by introducing confusing side issues) and; is sometimes used to supress the sufficiency of data by those who may have a motive inspired by fear of comparison.
In closing, the references to data lead me to an opinion which I have formed about humility, and which I will present as “Food for thought”.
Humility is sometimes referred to as a virtue and occasionally this is disputed. I think that the scientific term “Insufficient Data” is an excellent example of humility as a great strength. In short, admitting that I don’t know whatever it is that I don’t know and acknowledging when a process is not yet complete thus … cutting a lot of metaphorical bull defecant out of my life.

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