on a theoretical level, the metaphor leads to a range of interesting questions about the connectivity of knowledge. It even suggests that the deliberate part of learning consists of making connections between mental entities that already exist; new mental entities seem to come into existence in more subtle ways that escape conscious control. However that may be, thinking about the interconnectivity of knowledge suggests a theory of why some knowledge is so easily acquired without deliberate teaching. In the sense in which it is said that no two Americans are separated by more than five handshakes, this cultural knowledge is so interconnected that learning will spread by free migration to all its regions. This suggests a strategy to facilitate learning by improving the connectivity in the learning environment by actions on cultures rather than on individuals.
This chapter originally appeared (in a slightly modified version) in The Children's Machine by S. Papert, 1993 (pp. 82-105). Copyright 1993 by Harper- Collins Publishers.
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