Betroffenheit: The Show and the Emotions

“Betroffenheit” is a German emotion word. Max Wyman compared it to being gobsmacked. I might add nonplussed. But English and French words only capture part of the meaning of betroffenheit. Crystal Pite, a brilliant Canadian choreographer (Kidd Pivot productions), created an entire dance show that translates betroffenheit in several of the brain’s (verbal and non-verbal) languages.[1] Since seeing this very powerful show a couple of weeks ago, it has frequently come to my mind (a light perturbance); and I’ve discussed it with many people. I had been resisting the urge to blog about it, for lack of time. But reading Brett Terpstra’s blog post, “How’s it going?”, about the grief he is experiencing from losing his dog, Emma[2], led me to reply to his post with the following.
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What Inspired Mrs. Robinson and Other Songs in The Graduate?

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 in The Graduate?

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