Friday, June 26, 2009

Dangerous Diminishment 6/26/09

Iron rusts from disuse, even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.

Leonardo Da Vinci
Hello again.
I believe in mental might. Years ago I read a statistic which claimed that on the average we use about 15% of our brains. I thought, then what do we do with the rest of it? Let it rust?

I decided to investigate the thinking of those who I was sure were more intelligent than I. While some of them, it turned out, were actually at the 10 or 11% level of mental use, there are some, such as Da Vinci, who were pushing at the limits of their mental usefulness. The common quality they all seemed to express was curiosity. Albert Einstein once humbly remarked that he wasn't all that clever but that he was just very curious. He also wrote "It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education."

Then I wondered just how much our formal education dumbs us down to our 15% capacity. I saw that it wasn't education itself, but the way it was presented. So much of how I was taught growing up was about incapacity, not capacity, of mental ability. I was taught what to think not how to think. If my thinking did not conform to the rules of the day, I was deemed "wrong," Once I got out from underneath the dictatorial dogma of public school education I learned that not only could I think for myself, but that some day I would even learn to think beyond myself.

It's a truism to say we are all capable of more than we do. But wisdom can't stop there. If so, how do we learn to do more? How do we increase our capabilities, our capacities for doing more? Fearlessly and unashamedly admitting our useless 85% is a good start. It's like owning a 100 acre plot of land and never venturing past the back yard. It's safe. It's easy.

One day in a life drawing class I was sitting next to a woman who stopped drawing at one point and put her pen down. I asked her why and she said that she didn't like the pose. I suggested that she should draw it anyway. If we only draw the poses we like we won't do much drawing nor will we learn much.

Mighty mentality can't be gained by sticking with the safe and easy. If I come to a thinker whose ideas perplex me I don't want to turn away and say "It's too confusing. I don't understand it." Rather I want to stick with it until I do. Curiosity and expansive thinking are what get me out of my backyard and into the fascinating forest beyond.

Vagabond Journeys
May you see something pretty you haven't seen before.


This is not a contest.

A young man out west just took home 88 million dollars from the lottery.

Whether you play the lottery or not, if you suddenly had 88 million dollars what are the first three things you would do with it?

You have all summer to answer if you wish.

6 responses so far.



Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

The best remedy is certainly to use it as much as possible, our brains that is :o)

Beth said...

I've read that we use even less than 15%. Doesn't that make everyone wonder what the rest of our brain is capable of? It definitely makes me wonder!

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