I got a recipe for creating intelligence in developing human beings from a documentary on television on Saturday night. Hopefully we are all developing and so will all have a use for it. The magic formula is: Love, exercise, challenge, nutrition and new experience
Our central nervous system likes new information, environments, experiences etc. They also referred to two types of smarts. The first being knowledge that you collect through out your lifetime. The second named fluid intelligence, and refers to how you deal with questions that you don't already know the answer to. Challenge, new stimulation and new problems are what I find interesting about the whole discussion. The brain and nervous systems thrive on new things, this might explain the attention deficit I am feeling presently. I personally like to move alot, and don't like routine or repetition very much. I have been in Montreal about three years now and am tempted lately to bolt. Even though I love the city and in many ways am just getting to know it. I having been chiding myself for craving the newness of travel, for moving every year, for wanting new clothes etc. etc. I guess eventually though I'll have to learn take risks, and plunge into unfamiliar situations without skipping town.
The other idea that has been pervasive in my thoughts lately has been the idea of expectation. In rehearsal last week, Andrew was giving this as a direction for not anticipating or controlling what your partner will do next in a contact improvisation duet. I've been trying to apply it generally though. Not expecting how someone will answer, react or affect you. Acting without anticipating the reaction and being autonomous enough to not take it personally. It isn't easy to not hope for a certain response and still be curious about what it will be. When I have managed to do it, I feel better because my personal state of mind is no longer dependent on the reaction I get. Usually fear of a negative response, stops me from taking the surprising and untried action. This is a huge waste of time, and it sentences you to repeating actions and routines rather than creating new ones.
I went to see an improvisation this weekend that was recommended to me and wasn't that impressed by the dance because I think of this same phenomena. The performer wasn't challenging herself to be there in the room with us. She was in a safe comfortable zone, untouched by the music, the environment and performing all movements with the same energy. But I also went expecting to be impressed and then was disappointed. So its interesting to think want you want a piece of art to do for you. For me I want to be surprised, caught up in a mood or an image. Transported beyond by my identity and that of the performers. Moved would be the simplest way of putting it, and that implies a transformation. As I sat there watching, it really struck me how performance is a modern ritual. I know this isn't a new revelation and the same could probably said of hockey. But it forced me to ask myself why was the ritual I was attending so serious and up tight? If the same thing was taking place in another culture or setting there would probably be more people participating in the event and much less of a division between passive voyeur and ego centered performer. What does watching someone else explore do for you. I guess it can take you to a new place because your following someone else's patterns, but it does put the responsibility on the focal point to go beyond the norm in some way. Whether it is deeper, more ecstatic, fragmented, arrested, passionate. The point is to move into new territory so we can all get smarter.
"It is the artistic ideals of civilisations that signal where those civilisations hope the human spirit can go, how high it can ascend, into what deeds of astonishment it can flow. Art is the best selves of people made manifest, one way or another. It is not their reality." - Ben Okri
But if you are always moving you only scratch the surface - dig in - in a new way!
That is as deep as I am getting on this rainy day.