This morning I was reading a discussion on an on-line forum when I encountered a reference to Marshall McLuhan. Well, the name used was McLuhan, and as I was unable to recall his first name I turned to my favorite search engine.

Marshall McLuhan. Wikipedia has a good write up on him, well worth reading. Having done so just now, I realized how little I knew about him. Then, like all good journeys, this one had some side roads that are very tempting. I resisted the urge to click on the numerous links but am still thinking about the myriad connections.

McLuhan was an integrator and predictor. His thinking informed by knowledge and experience but his ideas not limited by either. A mark of a powerful intellect-using knowledge as a springboard to create new ideas. He is described as an intellectual and was surely that. He was also an artist of ideas and language.

I was a bit annoyed this morning when I ran across a reference to him and couldn’t fill in more detail but I followed the trail. Now I have a better, broader, richer view now. Far from finished with this avenue, I’ll be investigating McLuhan.

How often do we encounter something we don’t know about or understand and turn the other way? How often do leaders succeed once or twice, then attempt to replicate results despite different contexts? How often do we judge something uninteresting or of low value before we have an idea at all.

I used to think that people didn’t learn because they were intellectually lazy. That might be true sometimes but before the (often unconscious) choice to refuse an opportunity to learn, what people have is the experience of discomfort. Slight though it may be, if not knowing elicits discomfort (unpleasant) rather than excitement (pleasant), it is more likely that an opportunity will be missed. Too bad because not knowing is only permanent if we choose not to learn.