relativity, up close and personal

Looking back at my posts, but not really having to, I see that I have tagged many of them “steep learning curve”. Many of them have dealt with loss, for sure, and that doesn’t leave my mind too often, especially with consistent reminders, such as the death of a young woman who got confused, went the wrong way on a train and ended up somehow getting hit and killed. It makes no sense to me, either, so perhaps I am writing in a convoluted style, since perhaps that is the only thing that makes sense. If that makes any sense.

And today, I just heard about a relatively young woman in this area getting hit and killed by a snow plow. Another reason to be sick of this snow.

I was thinking about people I know who are old, but act young and not in a good way. New brain theory that I’ve read (this links to the WSJ article ” Why Everything You Think You Know About Aging is Wrong” without a pay wall) talks about how the brain does keep growing, even into old age, but we often sabotage it by bad habits. How we then act young is reverting back to limited behaviors of children–categorical thinking, rather than subtle nuanced deliberation. It’s good when children do it, not so much when you’re old.

Children learn categorically; first the familiar, then the opposite extreme. I mentioned Educationalist* Kieran Egan back here when we went to Australia. These are his basic categories of how children grow:

PRIMARY/ELEMENTARY SCHOOL:
TOOLS OF ORAL LANGUAGE: MYTHIC UNDERSTANDING

MIDDLE/SECONDARY SCHOOL:
TOOLS OF WRITTEN LANGUAGE: ROMANTIC UNDERSTANDING

SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL:
TOOLS OF THEORETICAL LANGUAGE: PHILOSOPHIC UNDERSTANDING

You can read more about his work here on his website.

But back to the aging problems, for a moment. Quoting the WSJ article for a moment:

In recent years, an economist has put forth a theory of creative late bloomers. David Galenson, a professor at the University of Chicago, analysed the ages at which about 300 famous artists, poets and novelists produced their most valuable works. (For the artwork, he used auction prices and the number of times specific works appeared in text books. For literary works, he counted the words devoted to them in scholarly monographs.)

His conclusion: creative genius clusters into two categories — conceptual artists, who tend to do their best work in their 20s and 30s, and experimental artists, who often need a few more decades to reach full potential. Conceptual artists work from imagination, an area where the young have an advantage because they tend to be more open to radical new ideas, Prof Galenson says. Experimental artists improve with experience. They take years to perfect their style and knowledge of their subjects.

So, I’m definitely looking to work on that experimental, or, as I would call it, experiential art.

My kids bought me Lightroom for my last birthday. I’m having lots of annoyances experiences trying it out. Remember the title of this blog? Okay, I’ll keep trying.

Let’s just try getting better with age.

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*(yes, apparently it means “a specialist in the theory of education”)

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2 thoughts on “relativity, up close and personal

  1. My father, who is nearly 88, also likes trying out all sorts of new, creative apps. And what would you make of my uncle, who, when he retired, registered as a student at the Hebrew University and got his doctorate in Musicology at the age of 86?

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