Excerpt About Development

Our Learned Conceptual Knowledge is Really Learned Conceptual Ignorance

It takes time for the mind to develop the capacity for discriminating knowledge, and though researchers may not agree on the exact timing, it is agreed that this development happens in stages. We all start life with inherent ignorance—we know that we are, that we exist, but we don’t know what we are. We experience, but we don’t know what we experience. We see, but we don’t know what we are seeing. In time, we learn what things are, and we also learn how to recognize, how to discriminate, how to tell things apart and know them. All of this develops the capacity of conceptualization. How does this happen? We develop our capacity by coming to know the usual things that people know. Phenomena at the most obvious, gross level—the physical level—are paramount at the beginning. So we begin by knowing our bodies, knowing other people, knowing things in the physical environment, and so on. And this is followed by increasingly more subtle kinds of knowing.As we have seen, by the time we have developed our learned, conceptual knowledge, it is really learned or conceptual ignorance, because it obscures the True Nature we started with. Our learned ignorance veils and disconnects us from who we really are. To recognize True Nature and have it available to experience, we need to penetrate and see through our learned ignorance. But to understand True Nature, we need to overcome our innate ignorance.

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