When you seek knowledge from sounds (such as words or music), surprisingly cognition can occur only when you suppresses the sounds into the background in your mind! This is similar to hearing a conversation in the next room but not being able to make out anything that is being said.

When you do make out something - anything! - cognition momentarily stops!

To momentarily “shut sounds into the next room,” all you have to do is blow softly out through your mouth; or touch your lips lightly (as in Rodin’s Thinker”). Maybe because humans’ cognitive machinery pre-dates language and language inherently makes reference to old ideas. Cognition is new ideas. By activating--for something other than language--the cranial nerves responding to input around the mouth (mainly, the trigeminal nerve), you can momentarily suppress language and the old ideas that go with it.

Cognition is completely unconscious and cannot be controlled. It is new knowledge, the nature and even the existence of which comes into awareness over a shorter or longer period of time.

You have to just allow yourself to be open to perceiving the world with “new eyes,” and be prepared to have everything thrown continually into disarray. Someone has actually made a movie about this (The Giant Mechanical Man”).

All this raises the question what exactly a a person can accomplish in school, beyond just learning to read words or music. “Education” insists that knowledge must be grasped consciously and at will, through a given format of language. This is not cognition. “Education” simply does not allow the “student” to “shut things in the other room”.

Someone who graduates from school is exactly the same person who went in, but probably with a lot of pre-packaged ideas stored up for possibly eavesdropping on later! But it is certainly possible to educate yourself by reading books while “shutting the words into the other room,” and only “kind of” hearing the sounds. This is a type of cognition, and can be done by anyone as long as he’s not in a school!

The thrust of an author’s points is not readily learned in this way. The mind doesn’t like sentences or paragraphs, but the individual word or (small) group of words. This is the working material of cognition. Cognition does not abstract the author’s arguments, but the author’s concepts!

All this becomes perfectly obvious as your eavesdropping goes on!.

By the same token, you can profitably go back to the same well many, many times. (If you simply memorized all the author’s words you would still have to repeat them to yourself subconsciously (“in the next room”), with the ideas that go with them, over and over to accomplish the same thing).

Learning can’t happen in school. It has to happen when you can see things or ideas “with new eyes”. Shut the things or ideas into the next room and close the door.

If you are in junior high and you want to be a doctor, take a few minutes every day and eavesdrop on a page or two of General Chemistry by Linus Pauling (currently 35 cents on Amazon) or an antiquated (i.e., cheap) edition of Gray’s Anatomy. Try to keep yourself from grasping anything! (Perhaps best to read every other line). Repeat this process again and again, with a month or two between. You won’t realize it for a while, but you will be eons ahead of your classmates!

Your teacher is hopefully someone who has done a lot more cognition than you have. But all he can do is motivate you. He can’t do it for you. Most of what school can do for you has already been done!