You know that ‘aha!’ moment when you realise what a certain person was trying to teach you, weeks, months or even years after they were an immediate part of your life? Whenever it happens I never know whether to think ‘I wish the other person had made it more obvious’ or ‘I wish I had been a faster learner’. Maybe a bit of both. Then I ask the questions ‘Did they intend for me to learn that?’ or ‘Was this something that I created for me to learn?’
There is often an ‘unspoken’ space between people who are in a developmental relationship, where knowledge is transferred through osmosis. This is commonly referred to as ‘tacit knowledge’ and Polanyi has obviously thought very deeply about it. Tacitness is perhaps the most complex and problematic facet of the process of managing knowledge in human interaction.
What is happening in the ‘unspoken space’, and in the multiple ‘unspoken spaces’ within one’s own developmental network? Perhaps if we could answer these questions, we could have those ‘aha!’ moments much earlier and move mountains.