Unlearning

When you discover the fatal love letter or get the news that you’ve been fired, it’s pointless to talk about old realities and new ones. But later, it is important to reflect on these things, for with realities as with identities and connections, the old must be cleared away before the new can grow. The mind is a vessel that must be emptied if new wine is to be put in.

This process is hard to take in more than just a natural, personal sense; it goes against the grain of our culture, which tends to view growth as an additive process. We did not have to unlearn the first grade to go on to the second, for example, forget Sunday school when we joined the church.

The entire termination process violates our too-seldom examined idea that development means gain and has nothing to do with less.

William Bridges, Transitions