On Fear of Learning

“The extent to which adults in our society have lost the child’s positive stance toward learning varies from individual to individual. An unknown but certainly significant proportion of the population has almost completely given up on learning. These people seldom, if ever, engage in deliberate learning and see themselves as neither competent at it nor likely to enjoy it. the social and personal cost is enormous: Mathophobia can, culturally and materially, limit peoples lives. Many more people have not completely given up on learning but are still severely hampered by entrenched negative beliefs about their capacities. Deficiency becomes identity: “I can’t learn French, I don’t have a ear for languages;” “I could never be a businessman, I don’t have a head for figures;” “I can’t get the hang of parallel skiing, I never was coordinated.” These beliefs are often repeated ritualistically, like superstitions. And, like superstitions, they create a world of taboos; in this case, taboos on learning.”

— “Mathophobia: The Fear of Learning”, Mindstorms, Seymour Papert.