Learning from tradition

Categories and concepts that modern man has created to understand the world do not exist among the traditional cultures. So if there is a sincere urge to really understand tradition on their terms, the modern educated man has to re examine his cognitive paradigm, his frames of reference and the lens that he has created to see the world. This requires courage because this attempt will break his self image as 'educated', 'developed', and thus superior. The very fact that one feels superior is mental distortion. So it is only with total honesty to one self and with a spirit of self criticism that one can engage with other cultures.

Having escaped ‘education’ and ‘development’, the so called illiterate people would still be original and authentic people who are holding on to the culture and worldview which sustained them for centuries. We have to go into the world of the rural communities not with the intention of 'developing' them or educating them. Instead we have to go to them to regain that which we have lost in the process of getting educated.

Cognitive condition among traditional cultures

It is important to understand the core elements that enable learning without teaching and how the connection with nature is retained. The total cognitive system in traditional culture is pro life and is natural and organic.

All learning is done through experiencing or DOING and all teaching happens in BEING what is to be taught. Words have no role to play in this act of making sense as knowledge per se is wordless.

The physical space, the architecture, the activities, the relation to nature etc are all conducive for an organic and natural growth. In that sense the tribal world is an inclusive world. Children are the standard for creating spaces. People inhabit the world of children. Everything happens at ground level so that children by they are three to four years can also be part of adult life.

Traditional people's learning is experientially rooted, learner driven. It has the quality of re-creating, re-inventing and re-living knowledge. The cognitive space ensures the first handedness in these learnings and helps the learner to situate oneself in the cultural conditions of one's life.