Learning is essential for both personal development and the building of a community. But it’s easier said than done. When, for example, one has spent a lot of time and poured a lot of energy into one’s education, it can be quite a blow to hear that one might be wrong. Similarly, when one identifies oneself with a certain knowledge base, it can be quite difficult when it becomes clear that this knowledge base might be, even just in part, false.
It seems that this difficulty is in large part related to our ego, which can create a formidable barrier between us and something new, even if this something new is clearly better. The ego is what makes us defensive in the face of something new. The ego is what can make us lash out in anger at something new. The ego is what can aggravate us when our ideas, previously avant-garde, now seem obsolete.
Love is one of the best lubricants to facilitate learning despite the ego. There is the love that others have for us, making of our mistakes nothing more than a passing event that does not define our inner worth. This same love makes others never feel superior to us because they know more than we do. This same love makes other happy when we succeed, and proud of us when we surpass them. There is the love that we have for others, which makes us react to them in a similar fashion.
Then there is the love we should all have for learning. When we love learning, our identity is not wrapped anymore in what we know; it becomes wrapped in learning. Someone presenting a new and better idea to us becomes a source of joy as we are able to adjust our knowledge for the better. Interestingly enough, this love for learning makes us love those that are learning with us, and those that contribute to our learning.
This is why an environment imbued with love is so important to learning, and therefore, to both our personal development and to the building of our communities.