Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Or, the Unexpected Virtue of Doing It Wrong

My auntie emailed me today about being a beginner among more accomplished spinners:
her wool yarn is uneven and lumpy. 

One of the young women admired her work, however, saying that she herself can't spin yarn like that anymore, only fine yarn.

My auntie wrote,  
"I'll have to remember what I'm doing wrong so that I can, in the future, occasionally spin like a beginner if I want to."
Remember what you're doing wrong...
I thought of what I'd written yesterday about the peaceful protests to the Dakota pipeline––my surprise that they had worked––expecting things to go badly as these things so often have in the past.

I'd been idly reading about children's brain development last month and it's so interesting, you know---their brains are literally open to everything (our neural connections are not yet closed); curious like a scientist, they are willing to carry out a thousand experiments.

"When we are babies, our brains are more open to the shaping hand of experience than at any time in our lives. In response to the demands of the world, the baby's brain sculpts itself."
--PBS "Secret Life of the Brain"

Of course we wouldn't want to stay like babies--we could never focus on anything. The trick is to bring the two together:

From Wikipedia: "Shoshin" is a concept in Zen Buddhism meaning beginner's mind.
It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would.

"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few." 
― Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind 


ArtSparker said...

I have read that children raised bilingual are ,ore empathetic than others - and from my limited experience, it appears to be true.

Frex said...

I'd just read that children raised bilingual keep more neural pathways open, or open longer?--I imagine anything that keeps our brains mobile helps up comprehend and accept that other people may be different.

This is so hard for us humans who like certainty to do!