Monday, June 16, 2008

Ways of knowing

Considering this was a do-over day, I can't really claim to have had a productive day, since I was really only catching up to where I should have been a few days ago.


It felt good to refill the seams right this time. I feel like I have finally figured out the epoxy and how to get it right. I felt really confident this time around. Well, tomorrow I'll check my work and see if I really did get it right, but I am pretty sure I did.

I wrote yesterday that I was learning skills I don't really want, and in a way that is true, but I think there is something else I am learning here that is worthwhile. I feel like today is a kind of turning point, I had some insight that allowed me to correct old mistakes and feel confident about proceeding. For the first time I actually feel like I can go beyond the written instructions and improvise as necessary.

I am trying to put my finger on exactly what has changed besides growing familiarity.

Later, I thought I had lost my pocket watch, I thought it had fallen out of my pants pocket. As it turned out I had merely misplaced it, but for a couple of hours I retraced all my steps since I last remembered seeing it, and could not find it.

Several times during the search I was distracted, first by my effort to distinguish between between white, yellow and grey birches, then between red and mountain maples, then aspens and white poplars. I'd stand staring at one or more of these trees trying to get some sense of it as a unique tree, different from others of its genus but similar to others of its species. Then I'd remember that I was looking for my pocket watch and continue on, scanning the ground.

Then I saw a trail that I had not been on in awhile and decided to follow it, rationalizing that I would resume the search for the watch when I returned from that trail. But by the time I had finished following that trail, I decided to give up the search for the watch. I had this sense that it was not in any of the places that I was looking for it, that it was somewhere else altogether and there was no point searching further.

And sure enough, that was true. I did find it very shortly after returning home, in my pyjama pants pocket. I would never have thought to look there, I didn't even remember wearing them. But when I happened to glance at them while doing something else, I suddenly realized that was where the watch was. Finding it was anticlimactic, I already knew it was there.

I am reading Piers Anthony's On a Pale Horse, a science fantasy story about a man who murders Death and must then take its place. At one point Death has a conversation with Nature (in this story there are five personified "Eternals": Fate, Time, Death, War and Nature), in which she, the Green Mother, describes to him five different ways of knowing, represented by symbols made up of five lines.

Serial lines: ordinary linear thinking, good for most learning situations.

Parallel lines: powerful conservative thinking, fast and strong, leading to a virtually certain conclusion.

Radiating lines: Divergent creative thinking, going in all directions and not necessarily limited by current circumstances.

Pentagon formation: Schizoid thinking, going around in circles getting nowhere, internalizing. Good for coming to terms with an ugly situation.

Intuitive formation: A sudden jump to a conclusion, not the most reliable but sometimes effective.

Nature suggests that all five modes of knowing are useful for different occasions. I like the metaphor. A panoply of learning tools.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Glad your seams are filled and your watch is found!

Your learning lines are simply perfect. Thanks for adding them to your post.

What fun to fine unexpected mid-week posts!.

Cheers! Barbara