As Gloria Steinem once mentioned “we hold on to the ides that were accepted in the past, and are afraid to give them up”. She was right in that most of us already have a well established outlook and beliefs, which we hardly ever decide to reject. Unfortunately, some of those convictions might be entirely wrong or disadvantageous to our well-being. Because of that/this, it is of great necessity that we know how to “unlearn” our assumptions, and make a place for new ones. Rejecting past beliefs is as beneficial for a society as well as for an individual.
One example of discarding the old views held by the world as a society could be the act of restating the rights of women. Before the second half of the 19th century almost nobody thought about equal rights for females/women. However, females/feminists felt the injustice and mobilized themselves in order to force/compel society to “unlearn” some of its assumptions. A lot of feminists’ organizations were founded across the world. Among them was the National Woman Suffrage Association established by Susan B. Anthony and Elisabeth Stanton in the United States. Thanks to their political work, women gained the right to vote in most of the States. The same process had also occurred in Europe. A lot of/a great deal of effort was made to change people’s outlook on the equality of genders, ??but only thanks to these engaged suffragists, today’s Western countries could give a man and a woman equivalent privileges.?? Although much is still to be done, the perception of women is transformed greatly, from that in/of the past.
The process of “unlearning” might also concern an individual. An example of a beneficial act of rejecting one’s beliefs was set by Rodion Raskolnikov, the protagonist of a well-known work of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, “Crime and Punishment”. At the beginning of the book/story the main character held a somewhat deviated ideology. He is marvelled with the concept of a “Superman”, which he himself had invented. Moreover, he is convinced that “chosen” individuals are allowed to decide, within their own morality, about the extent of their laws. According to his philosophy, those people should not be constrained by any rules or regulations regarding an average person. Holding a belief that he is such an exceptional individual, Raskolnikov decided to commit murder and robbery. His plans were achieved and he evaded apprehension/detention/arrest. However, the crime created such a burden on his conscience that he could hardly bare it. The criminal decided to voluntarily report himself /give himself up to the police. During his stay in prison he realized that his life philosophy was erroneous and gave it up. Only after rejecting it, was he able to recover and return to normal life.
To “unlearn” some of our assumptions is sometimes very hard. However, it is often inevitable/unavoidable if we are to improve and develop. We need to eliminate faulty credence to make space for new, accurate ones. People as a group as well as separate individuals should always be open for/to new ideas and able to change their wrong convictions, because only that, would guarantee a progress. /because only then would progress be possible/guaranteed.