I am waiting for Y to come and join me for a late breakfast of porridge. Other than being hungry, and a little drained after working on some activist messages, I feel pretty good this morning. I woke up feeling well rested and warm inside.
I looked up the legal definition and standards of harassment on the internet and found a very informative and well written PhD dissertation on the subject of harassment, bullying and mobbing at the workplace in South Korea. I wanted to know the legal definition and perimeters of harassment, and learned the use and meaning of workplace mobbing and bullying. It sounds like mobbing is the practice of ganging up and setting up an employee for abuse. Bullying seems to be an aspect of harassment and mobbing.
I sent the document to human resources yesterday saying that I thought it might be a useful resource for the department since harassment etc. are growing problems at work these days. I hoped to hint that I was well aware of my legal rights, and that I have been harassed and bullied, but just stated that I wanted to pass on useful information to management.
Anyway, what I really want to talk about in this blog posting is the question as to whether learning is necessarily stressful. I heard a student say that it was yesterday, and have been thinking the notion over since then. I don't think learning has to be stressful, though in some situations it can be.
When I heard that student's comment yesterday, it reminded me of the time I witnessed a couple of communists debate whether learning was or should be fun. One man was appalled at the notion, and indicated that real learning would not be fun at all, if it were serious learning.
I beg to differ. I think that someone who is keen on a topic or purpose will be strongly motivated, and that the highly motivated person will love what they are doing. Someone who is interested in a subject and excited about it will feel thrilled about the activity and process of learning, especially the discovery that can happen. This kind of excitement is positive and bound to be healthy.
There are various kinds of excitement. Let's say there are four kinds: physical pleasure, nervousness, fear and joy. Excitement driven by anxiety is stressful and a negative experience. Nervousness does not have to involve anxiety although it can involve a little fear. Nervousness can be good in that it can keep one alert enough to do well.
If learning brings about anxiety, there are reasons for it. I believe that there can be learning that brings joy, and nervousness, though one would probably most likely be nervous when a performance or testing of what has been learned is anticipated. One can love a subject, be excited about the acts of finding out, and feel joy in the act of learning and the experience of discovery. If one is anxious about learning, there would be a particular reason for the anxiety.
What can make someone feel anxious about learning? One case would be when a person is forced to learn something she or he does not desire to learn. In my experience, though, the process of learning something that is required is not anxiety-inducing; rather, it is simply fatiguing. However, it might produce anxiety if one's learning is being monitored by a person of authority, and when the consequence of refusing or quitting can be a reprimmand or punishment of some sort.
Another case of learning that makes a person anxious would be when there is a significant test of learned material. An anxiety producing test could be one that is a measurement of personal or economic value and have consequences such as more or less prestige, ranking, opportunity for advancement, and availability of compensation or rewards. That is, when the possibility of failure can be the result of a test, it can be negative.
My point is that learning does not necessarily make people anxious. Whether a person experiences anxiety depends on their motivation and other circumstances, such as whether he or she is forded to learn and whether there is to be a significant test of what has been learned. Learning can be fun under some circumstances and if someone really wants to learn.