Miguel Panao | Professor and Author

Finding ways to improve scientific writing and academic productivity.

Growing a Culture of Learning

If learning is part of what biologically helped us survive and thrive as a species on this biosphere, learning is also the culture which allows us to grow in the noosphere. What is the noosphere?

Credit to Philip Beesley

Credit to Philip Beesley

Noosphere is the sphere of human thought, just as the biosphere is the sphere of life on this planet. The word has its roots in the Greek ” nous” which means mind, and sphaira (sphere). Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a paleontologist, and Jesuit priest introduced it to indicate the emergence of human cognition which transforms the biosphere.

“And this amounts to imagining, in one way or another, above the animal biosphere a human sphere, a sphere of reflection, of conscious invention, of conscious souls (the noosphere, if you will).” (P. Teilhard de Chardin)

Therefore, learning emerges when another form of evolution appears with our species, a cultural evolution. But is there a limit to what we can learn?

A few days ago, I had an awkward idea.

Learning is our super-power.

We don’t need the super-power of flying, because we learn how to do it using what we learned and develop the technology. The same goes for strength above our possibilities, long-distance communication, speed, sight, etc. Behind all our achievements is not only the human spirit but fundamentally our ability to learn.

But in the age of social media, I fear we allow ourselves to be grabbed by its attention drainage power that we stopped growing our ability to learn. We prefer to consume whatever information that is at the reach of our touch and remain content.

If we invest in growing a Culture of Learning by trying to learn something new every day and begin to love learning again, we will rediscover the possibilities opened by using our super-power. I sense what lies ahead if we follow this path is more significant than our imagination.

About Miguel Panao

I am a Professor at the University of Coimbra in Mechanical Engineering. I am also author of books in the fields of environmental ethics and Science and Religion. From the several research projects, this site is personal and dedicated to the search for the best approaches, tools, techniques to improve scientific productivity.

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