The pattern underlying [the creative act] is the perceiving of a situation or idea, L, in two self-consistent but habitually incompatible frames of reference, M1 and M2. The event L, in which the two intersect, is made to vibrate simultaneously on two different wavelengths, as it were. While this unusual situation lasts, L is not merely linked to one associative context, but bisociated with two.
I have coined the term ‘bisociation’ in order to make a distinction between the routine skills of thinking on a single ‘plane,’ as it were, and the creative act, which … always operates on more than one plane. The former can be called single-minded, the latter double-minded, transitory state of unstable equilibrium where the balance of both emotion and thought is disturbed.
Arthur Koestler’s seminal theory of “bisociation” explaining how creativity in humor, art, and science works.
The ultimate irony is that my new novel (West of Babylon) is only available in electronic form. I didn’t merely get hoisted by my own petard—my petard fell on me and shattered my skull. There will be zero chance I’ll ever see anybody reading my book. Zero. It will never, ever happen. I will never be able to sign anyone’s copy. (There won’t be a copy!) I’ll never experience the sheer delight (it has almost reduced me to tears) of walking into a bookstore and seeing a novel I wrote prominently displayed on a table in the front (or rotting away in the H section on a shelf next to Ernest Hemingway and Herman Hesse). There will be friends of mine who, because they’ll never buy an e-reader, will never read the book at all.
But what’s crucial, what gives me some infinitesimal measure of hope, is that this book I wrote and slaved over every day and obsessed over for years will still be out there. Wafting in the either, zipping across USB cables, flickering on screens, bubbling up to the surface of the world. The book will be somewhere.
Independent learning suggests ideas such as “self-taught,” or “autodidact.” These imply that independence means working solo. But that’s just not how it happens. People don’t learn in isolation. When I talk about independent learners, I don’t mean people learning alone. I’m talking about learning that happens independent of schools.
Anyone who really wants to learn without school has to find other people to learn with and from. That’s the open secret of learning outside of school. It’s a social act. Learning is something we do together.
Independent learners are interdependent learners.
Alexander Graham Bell knew this when he famously said, “It is the man who carefully advances step by step, with his mind becoming wider and wider … who is bound to succeed in the greatest degree.”
Thomas Edison knew this when he proclaimed, “Success is the product of the severest kind of mental and physical application.”
Amelia E. Barr knew this when she asserted, “Everything good needs time.”
This is lovely – Diego Stocco makes music from leaves and a turntable.
The New Yorker’s Bob Mankoff at a recent TED salon. When Mankoff quit psychology school to become a cartoonist, he submitted 2,000 cartoons to the New Yorker that year. Of them, 2,000 were rejected. In 1997, he became the magazine’s cartoon editor.
Pair with the fantastic Fail Safe and Ray Bradbury’s advice on perseverance in the face of rejection.
The controversial 1972 “women’s liberation” issue of Wonder Woman, written by the great Samuel R. Delany. It was published months after the launch of legendary feminist magazine Ms., which forever changed the discourse on gender politics.
Wheels of Change – for National Bike to Work Day, a brief visual history of how the bicycle emancipated women.
Stunning archival photos of vintage NASA (and NASA predecessor NACA) facilities.
For Bike to Work Day, a lovely illustrated vintage bicycle safety manual from 1969.