Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Further Entanglements


First ideas are very often the best ones – at least it has been so in my experience. On the mat for example (or in martial arts in general), we come up with a fundamental idea – if it works, we try it again and again, transmuting it, over time, into a real and dependable skill. But then we do something funny, we tend to try to expand on the idea by coming up with variations on it – sometimes we try out variations in an effort to improve on the original idea, but often we come up with variations as a means of entertaining ourselves (or others). This of course, can be an interesting exercise, but again, in my experience, that the original idea usually turns out to be the most ‘sound’, the most ‘dependable’ – the one that offers the highest probability for survival when we are really put to the test.
I think most martial arts systems start out built around one or two very basic ideas – then over time – they become overly convoluted and evolve into rambling structures that consist of many a weird and winding ‘rabbit hole’.
In technology though, this endless experimental expansion seems to bear more and more fruit – the i-phone is clearly better than the two cans joined by a length of string. So something else is at work there – but with evolution (of any kind) there also comes a cost. It’s not all ‘upside’. I look around me and see people eating at a table nearby – and four out of five are on their phones, checking their Facebook pages and texting no doubt – rather than just ‘being’ there with their friends. It all comes at a cost.
And so it is too with ideas. With food – the shift from organic (self gathered) to farmed and bought in a supermarket – convenient – oh yes – but there is a cost.
I often like to return the core idea of a thing – I like to see where the idea came from, before it evolved into something much more complex and (sometimes) over-embellished. And often (for me) it is when I return the original ‘core idea’ of a thing – that I can mush more easily transfer it (as a model) or overlay it onto another piece of subject-matter – and kick off another entangled learning experience.
I havn’t said it as well as I could have – not much sleep last night – but I trust you get the idea.
Best wishes: JBW

1 comment:

Klaus Burton said...

I completely agree about the reduction, it's so useful for understanding to trace an idea back to its root.

The great physicist Richard Feynman said a lot of worthwhile things on that topic too (as I suspect you know already), he always spoke out against over-complication since as a physicist he was surrounded by that as well as jargon.

P.S. Looking forward to your seminar tonight at GSW!