Even a Whisper – Malleability of the Mind

The mind is a malleable thing, sensitive to outside influences. Waitzkin, in The Art of Learning, talks about how a Soviet player unknowingly interrupted his natural rhythm of thought by tapping a chess piece against the table. The sound was barely audible, yet it caused him to make careless errors at critical moments.

Only when the tactic was explained to him was he able to notice it and counteract it.

Our minds are not immune to outside influences, especially if they are subtle and we aren’t paying much attention. Just what are we putting into our mind? Are we being intentional about it? Are we paying careful attention to what we read and watch and allow to enter our ears? Even a whisper has the potential to alter our behavior.

To be careless in this seems dangerous. In this, we should train to be as wise as serpents (Matthew 10:16).

Domain Dependence – When Your Subconscious Rolls its Eyes

To be truly creative, one of the central problems to overcome is domain dependence. We become so dependent on the surrounding context of an idea, that we fail to apply that idea in other areas or domains. We fail to make useful connections.

Continue reading Domain Dependence – When Your Subconscious Rolls its Eyes

Children of Voldemort

Those who harp on privilege, steeped in postmodern thought, are the children of Voldemort. “There is no good and evil, there is only power…and those too weak to seek it.”

Ironically, they try to gain this power by claiming victimhood and oppression. By claiming to be weak. This is a stark parody of Jesus, who did indeed gain power and authority by humbly submitting to being a victim.

And He is the only true victim.

Neophiles and Getting Impatient with Doors

After learning something new, it’s tempting to let our excitement drive us to pick up that shiny new hammer at any opportunity and go looking for some nails. We are all neophiles.

This applies to every field and endeavor. You learn a new word that tastes like honey when it forms on the tongue, and you start looking for excuses to use it. One method of teaching works great for one child, and so you try to replicate that success with other children despite their uniqueness. You get a new Instant pot, and you use it to make every meal for the next 2 weeks. Never mind that one of those meals was scrambled eggs.

In my own field of computer programming, there are times where, after coming to understand a new development pattern, my thinking gets colored by it. How can I solve this new problem with this same pattern? It worked so well before, so of course it must work well again on this other problem that might be totally unrelated. As a result, I can burn too much time. Or write code that isn’t optimal.

Eventually we find ourselves laying flat on our backs after we tried to push our new, gigantic square peg through a round hole while running at a dead sprint. Or worse,  we end up running endlessly in circles wondering why our new key won’t unlock any of the doors we need to go through. We start getting impatient with the doors.

The trick, I think, is to get to the stage where you have internalized it. It becomes a common thing. Your new skill/idea needs to be bouncing around in your subconscious and part of your overall repertoire, instead of at the forefront of your mind, dancing and demanding your attention.

How do you do this? By learning something new.