What Inspired Mrs. Robinson and Other Songs on The Graduate? And Other Questions about Learning from Stories

There must be a thesis on this somewhere: How did Simon & Garfunkle’s soundtrack to The Graduate come to be what it became? I don’t mean the administrative part. I mean: what was the specific assignment S&G received? What were the constraints? And more interestingly, how did S&G translate this assignment into the masterpiece they created? Continue reading What Inspired Mrs. Robinson and Other Songs on The Graduate? And Other Questions about Learning from Stories

On Using Fiction and Non-Fiction When Feeling Guilty

At the Vancouver Arts Club on Friday, I attended the emotion-inducing play, Angels in America Part 1: Millennium Approaches. (Its wikipedia page. One of the characters, Louis Ironson, is a Jewish homosexual consumed by anxiety and guilt. Today, I used this character to reflect upon imperfection, the emotions of guilt, and self-directed learning. I wondered in particular how one can use feelings of guilt and fiction/non-fiction to become more effective. This blog post touches briefly on this problem. Continue reading On Using Fiction and Non-Fiction When Feeling Guilty

What Can You Learn from the Knowledge of Others?

Who would argue with this: “Learning is good in itself. The quality of performance —in work and personal endeavours — depends largely on prior learning”? Hence we should learn deliberately, and optimally. Now, if we are to devise better ways of learning, would it not help to have some explicit understanding of the different ways in which we can learn, or develop? I think so.

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Re-Enter Billy Elliot Stage Left, Exit Britain Stage Right

Meta-effectiveness, or developing oneself with practical and factual knowledge resources, is challenging enough. (Witness Cognitive Productivity.) But (how) can we, and should we develop ourselves with the art of others? Continue reading Re-Enter Billy Elliot Stage Left, Exit Britain Stage Right

Mata Hari’s Emotions

According to Michel Aubé, if motivation involves managing resources, then emotion, a subset of motivation, involves managing commitments (human resources). Combine this idea with the fact that emotional episodes involve perturbance, where a cluster of affectively charged mental content, or motivators, tend to disrupt and maintain attention. Continue reading Mata Hari’s Emotions

Report on Book Report on Kurt Palka (The Piano Maker, et al.): What if a Great Novel is Worth Re-reading?

I’ve been responding deeply enough to art since I launched CogZest to own up to the fact “it” has become a project of mine, beyond the one I committed to from the outset of CogZest, i.e., The Zest of Brel. My long term plan includes editing, publishing and contributing to a book provisionally called Cognitive Responses to Art. However, I’ve also made “it” a major focus of Discontinuities.
Continue reading Report on Book Report on Kurt Palka (The Piano Maker, et al.): What if a Great Novel is Worth Re-reading?