"The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise—with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country."
A good friend of mine, knowing of my passion for the concept of unlearning, recently forwarded this famous quote from Abraham Lincoln and suggested that what Lincoln was really advocating was "unlearning."
To a large degree, I believe this true, for exactly one month after uttering these famous words, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
The word "disenthrall" means to "set free" and, in his speech, Lincoln was in essence calling upon Congress and the American people to free their minds and free their thinking. By calling upon his fellow citizens to do so, Lincoln set this country on the path to a new and better future.
Of course, we still have a long way to go but if we hope to achieve a better future for our children and grandchildren it would behoove all of us to get down to the serious business of disenthralling ourselves from the "dogmas of the quiet past."
(P.S. As some readers may know, last year I ran unsuccessfully as an independent candidate for the U.S. Senate in my home state of Minnesota. My initial ad, entitled "Reverse Your Thinking" tried to get at this idea. It is 2.5 minutes long and you have to watch the entire commercial to get the point but if you do I think you'll catch my drift and see that one way to unlearn is to reverse your thinking.)