giving up on stability

Yesterday was another busy day off.  Steve to the rescue. Yada yada yada.  But good stuff.

I bought a used microwave for 12.50. It seems to work okay. The old one died. 

I also went to practically every local thrift shop looking for a treadmill. John “Brain Rules” Medina has inspired me to emulate my ancestors and evolve while walking.  I emailed someone on craigslist last night who is selling the one above for 50 bucks. That can’t be right. Anyway.

Speaking of Medina, I am liking his ideas quite a bit.

He says for learning to happen we evolved into a database of information and an ability to improvise on that database.  I find that intelligent people I meet often have the ability to improvise…. flexibility… but many times their database seems much different than mine and doesn’t include much of the same stuff. 

“Any learning environment that deals with only the database instincts or only the improvisatory instincts ignores one half of our ability. It is doomed to fail. It makes me think of jazz guitarists: They’re not going to make it if they know a lot about music theory but don’t know how to jam in a live concert. Some schools and workplaces emphasize a stable, rote-learned database. They ignore the improvisatory instincts drilled into us for millions of years. Creativity suffers. Others emphasize creative usage of a database, without installing a fund of knowledge in the first place. They ignore our need to otbtain a deep understanding of a subject, which includes memorizing and storing a richly structured database. You get people who are great improvisers but don’t have depth of knowledge. You may know someone like this where you work. They may look like jazz musicians and have the appearance of jamming but in the end they know nothing. They’r playing intellectual air guitar.”

John Medina, “Brain Rules”

Kind of serendipitious that Medina mentions jazz. I have been studying up on my jazz theory and practicing transposing jazz voicings into all keys. My bud and colleague, Jordan VanHemert has threatened to utilize me this summer in a jazz duo. I want to keep up. Jazz pedagogy is very evolved these days (speaking of evolution). And the resources are splendid. I purchased several a few years back and learned enough to know that I actually am a sort of jazz musician in many ways. But of course there’s always room for improvement and VanHemert is kind a of kick ass jazz sax player. I do not want to be left in the dust. Heh.  But my database could always use some more info and structure. So to speak.

Earlier, Medina observes that evolution handed homo erectus and homo sapien a rapidly changing living environment.

Unlike the other mammals, humans evolved adaptability instead of environment specific physical features like fangs or fur.


How did we succeed so well in our evolutionary task. Medina cites Richard Potts, director of the Human Originas Program at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of History:

“You give up on stability. You don’t try to beat back the changes. You begin not to care about consistency within a given habitat, because such consistency isn’t an option. You adapt to variation itself.


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