Noam Chomsky gives a fascinating and important talk entitled “Education For Whom and For What” about two major possibilities for education. For a funny and illuminating personal anecdote, go to minute 29-31.
Charles Eisenstein‘s seminal work, Sacred Economics, played a pivotal role in inspiring my latest book, The Mass Psychology of Fittism. In the following video by Ian McKenzie, Charles talks about the role that a debt-based money economy has played in fundamentally promoting political oppression, poverty, inequality, war, environmental destruction, anomie, and the severing of deep social ties.
Changing perspectives through an imaginative use of constraints is what leads to learning and breakthroughs–whether in the world of dance, martial arts, sports, mathematics, philosophy, cabinet making, or indeed any field you can imagine. Architect and professor, Hajime Narukawa has created the world’s most remarkable map–one which allows you to change perspective and thereby alter your concept of up, down, right, left, center, East, West, North, and South. This is exactly the map–or perhaps more accurately stated, these are precisely the mapping possibilities, that I have been searching for for almost 20 years.
Click here to listen to John Cedric Tarr interviewing Edward Yu about The Mass Psychology of Fittism on the Leap 2 podcast.
“I could say that when I was a young man, an adolescent, and I hungered for a voice, I studied the English poets, and I knew their work well and I copied their styles, but I could not find a voice. It was only when I read—even in translation—the works of Lorca, that I understood that there was a voice. It is not that I copied his voice—I would not dare—but he gave me permission to find a voice, to locate a voice, that is, to locate a self—a self that is not fixed, a self that struggles for its own existence. And as I grew older, I understood that instructions came with this voice. What were these instructions? The instructions were never to lament casually. And if one is to express the great inevitable defeat that awaits us all, it must be done within the strict confines of dignity and beauty.”
The great Bill Evans on learning, improvisation, pedagogy, the importance of fundamentals… and so much more.
“This boy said to me, ‘See that bird standing on the stump there? What’s the name of it?’ I said, ‘I haven’t got the slightest idea.’ He said, ‘It’s a brown-throated thrush. Your father doesn’t teach you much about science.’” -Richard Feynman
Richard Feynman elucidates the difference between learning and mindless parroting in this short and concise article.
An enthralling talk by Master Feldenkrais Trainer, Frank Wildman on Nikolai Bernstein and degrees of freedom (one of the major themes of Mass Fittism):
What do evolution, thermodynamics, information theory and Bernstein’s degrees of freedom have to do with Crossfit, Suzanne Somers’ Thigh Master and Conan the Barbarian?
Click here to link directly to Edward’s new book, The Mass Psychology of Fittism: Fitness, Evolution and the First Two Laws of Thermodynamics. (For those in the UK and Europe, click here for Amazon UK link or here for Book Depository)
“Learning Taijiquan means to educate oneself. It is like slowly advancing from primary school to university. As time passes, more and more knowledge is gained. Without the foundations of primary school and secondary school, one will not be able to follow the seminars at university. Studying Taijiquan requires starting from the very bottom, working one’s way systematically and step by step towards the more advanced levels. Someone who does not accept this, thinking that he may take a short cut, will not be successful”
-Master Chen Xiao Wang
Click here for a humorous personal account of what it means to learn with a master (in this case, Master Chen Xiao Wang).
“It’s better to do something simple, which is real… something you can build on because you know what you’re doing…. Over a long period of time you have to be aware of what is really accurate and what is not.”
Legendary jazz pianist Bill Evans, revolutionary trumpeter Miles Davis and boxing great Floyd Mayweather are all known to be masters of improvisation. Many think of improvisation as being an easy, stream-of-consciousness type of outpouring that requires little in the way of preparation. Yet, just as with producing superior works of art, dance, architecture, literature, science, engineering, or social science, producing a good improvisational piece requires thousands of hours of painstaking attention to the bare fundamentals–fundamentals that once better understood or even mastered, allow the artist/athlete to move in unexpected directions. Perhaps it’s no accident that boxing is called, “the sweet science.”
“So many witnesses observed the utter freedom of his flights of thought, yet when Feynman talked about his own methods he emphasized not freedom but constraints.”
-James Gleick (in reference to Richard Feynman’s use of constraints in physics)
Watch this video to see a highly imaginative use of constraints applied to the game of basketball (Apparently the Belgians are not only innovators in the world of soccer!)
“Perhaps what really differentiates Bruyninckx from other coaches is that he is not only interested in creating better football players, but also wants to create better human beings…” (from the article)
Click here for a fascinating look into the highly imaginative and humanistic approach of Belgian football coach, Michel Bruyninckx. Bruyninckx’s innovative use of constraints along with measures for cognitively overloading players provide an excellent model for learning and integrating a myriad of complex patterns while removing the unnecessary self-judgment. I call it the Feldenkrais-Erickson-Inner Game (Moshe Feldenkrais, Milton Erickson, W. Timothy Gallwey) approach.
“And what about a form of urban design that, instead of concealing repression, visibly organized our shared world as a commons? Because this, and nothing else, is a city: the organization of our shared world.”
Click here for Leónidas Martín’s insightful Op-Ed piece on modern architecture’s affect on communal space.