Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Whole brain thinking; Crossing the natural limits…..

Why Picasso is admired?....That is the most easiest question to answer…. As it is the most commonly known answer…. Picasso is admired because he broke the line… He was drawing the oval faces of men as square…. It was a rebellion against nature and a deep desire to have control over the fate of men….. At the beginning of previous century, when Darwin’s Evolutionary theory got the life injection from heredity science and it was determined that genes are the basic unit of evolution…..adding to that….that genes are the natural limits of organisms/men… provided an easy solution to fix the social and economical problems….simply there are poverty and crime because there are bad genes/incompatible genes….eradicate bad genes and the competitive genes will turn earth into Garden of Eden…. It was appealing to supremacists who were thinking of themselves…having supreme genes…so they launched the dark Eugenic movements….. to make their nations strong by having a pure breed of supreme genes………
Picasso’s greatness is not in adding a few high priced paintings and drawings…..but to reject the idea of the limits of nature…by breaking natural lines…. His works created an enthusiasm and strong belief….that human imagination and creativity have the power to break the natural limits/lines………
We all accept consciously or unconsciously natural limits for our lot of capabilities…. There is a limit for our typing speed….there is a limit for our bicycling speed…. There is limit for our running speed….there is limits for time in holding our breaths…. And so on…..When we practice…we improve in doing things but then we reach a limit …that we stop improving further….and practicing is of no more help…. This is what Joshua Foer likes to call….OK Plateau….
Why Plateau?....Because we climb up to reach the plateau and Plateau is level off surface….it is really a nice analogy…for climbing up and then reaching a plain where there is no more climbing…….Though there are OK Plateaus for our capabilities and yet….we see world records and the continuously watch or read the news of breaking the old records and the making of new world records……
Why, I have mentioned the name of Joshu Foer? I mentioned his name because he belongs to a group of people who call themselves as, “memory athletes” ….and try to develop new techniques to practice and break the natural limits…..They like Picasso…… challenge the nature…..and they like Picasso believe that it is the creativity that have the ability to challenge the limits set by nature……Joshu Foer has written a book in which he narrates the stories of mnemonists (memory athletes), their race for developing new techniques and the scientific studies that are the basis of their beliefs……. in relying on creativity to challenge the natural limits or cross the OK Plateau….. His book’s name is, ““ Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything”…..
If you don’t have time for reading the whole book….again there is no worries…as he has an article in New York Times’ magazine through which you can have a very good introductory idea of who the “memory athletes” are?..... and what they do?....The title of his article is, “How I trained my brain and became a world-class memory athlete”………………
…..Few pieces of the article are really quotable, like, …. “Many competitive mnemonists argue that their skills are less a feat of memory than of creativity.”……” . In his 1869 book “Hereditary Genius,” Sir Francis Galton argued that a person could improve at mental and physical activities until he hit a wall, which “he cannot by any education or exertion overpass.” In other words, the best we can do is simply the best we can do. But Ericsson and his colleagues have found over and over again that with the right kind of effort, that’s rarely the case. They believe that Galton’s wall often has much less to do with our innate limits than with what we consider an acceptable level of performance. They’ve found that top achievers typically follow the same general pattern. They develop strategies for keeping out of the autonomous stage by doing three things: focusing on their technique, staying goal-oriented and getting immediate feedback on their performance.”……
These descriptions contradict with the common beliefs of gifted-memories….. The concept of the gifted memory comes from the common experiences of natural limits….however it is not hundred percent true…Sometimes our limitations are just our beliefs that have inserted in us by the society….At least my experience is telling me so…..Here I am telling….how a teacher has planted (though unconsciously) the belief that I have a weak memory….You may be interested in the story (or you may blame me ….of blaming my teacher for what I have never tried seriously to develop….if you think so….you are not alone as I am supporting you to a large extent :) ,,,,,,
…………I call my 3rd grade mathematics teacher as “murderer of my memory”…… He was a military veteran and was treating his 3rd grade students as militia men…. stressing on discipline, doing works on time with no room for questions….Upon mistakes, he was beating us with stick…..in the whole year, I couldn’t learn by heart the arithmetic chart....under fear of punishments and urgency of time limits….so I started believing that I have a weak memory that I am still struggling to get rid off….(In the whole class there was only one boy……… who was punished regularly the whole year and he never cried….to us he was like a hero…once I asked him, how he could bear the pains of punishments….he told me that he eats a lot of potatoes…and advised me to eat potatoes to withstand the pains…..Later on I changed school….and didn’t see him for almost one and half decade….one day, I saw him on the street…he was a giant fat man, with thick black beards….I was still a skinny boy compared to him…as I saw him, I remembered his advice for eating potatoes… I smiled and told him, “I am sorry……I failed to eat a lot of potatoes and didn’t become a big man like you”………….)
The reason that I brought up this story is to show how the ignorance of teachers about “how memory works” may harm young students…….Teaching teachers about the techniques and the science behind them….will help and encourage them to develop their own creative techniques and implant self confidence in their students to rely on their creativity and do not accept the natural limits…as justification for not trying and failures…………..
For crossing the OK plateau, mnemonists use mental visual or mental imagery ( what they call memory palaces) for storing numbers, names and any verbal things….. These techniques actually combine L-mode of thinking with R-mode of thinking….or use the power of whole cerebral brain….. It is where creativity meet with memory…..The techniques of mnemonists should not be limited in usage for memory competitions as they have great scopes and potentials in untapping creativity and improving skills in learning…..

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