(First Pass: “Chapter of the Week” 2011)
What an odd thing to say. Yet, I don’t know how else to say it, so here is an example: For about ten years now, son Luke and I have been fleshing out a fundamentally simpler, easier way to learn to play music by ear (especially the string instruments: guitar, fiddle, banjo and the like). The curious thing is, he has great innate music talent, while I have virtual none. So, you would think our collaboration would be mostly a one way street—he would teach me…
The odd thing is, generally speaking, talent can’t teach the untalented. Talent can only teach the talented (1). Anyway, our ‘revolutionary’ project is to enable musically untalented folks to play music fluently, and in the process discover what ever hidden innate talent they have.
Do you see the conundrum here? The success we are able to have in this project is due to a synergy between him intuitively knowing what he knows, and me intuitively knowing what I don’t know. It feels mysterious, yet I expect similar synergies are commonplace and underlie much of life, yet pass unnoticed. (I notice because I’m obsessed with scrutinizing ‘the clock’ tick-tick.) That still doesn’t really explain it, does it. Well, that figures.
Oh, I also suspect that this could never have occurred earlier in my life when I thought I knew (i.e., To know yet to think that one does not know is best; Not to know yet to think that one knows will lead to difficulty.) Yep, there one or two advantages to old age that compensate for the physical decay.
(1) I mean talent in some specific area, not overall ‘life talent’, which is absurd and unknowable anyway. I imagine even this narrowly defined observation goes against the grain of modern educational philosophy, which I find more a matter of wishful thinking than empirical reality. Wishful thinking: a major source spring of one’s blind spot.
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