This is my own rabbit trail post for the Poetic Knowledge Book Club.
The Power of Thinking without Thinking
On page 56, Taylor says that empirical psychology has ignored the intuition and poetic knowledge, but there were several instances in this chapter that reminded me of Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, which I listened to and reviewed last year. Indeed, if you want a totally different approach and angle on what I think is pretty much the same phenomena, Blink would be an interesting tangent to take after Poetic Knowledge. Basically, Gladwell proves that the best “experts” in many fields make better “gut” judgements than analytic judgements, and those experts who rely exclusively on analysis actually end up making the wrong call. It was fascinating. And what the experts who had the right intuition all shared was an immersion in their field. The field was still their hobby as well as their profession.
The most fascinating point I thought Gladwell made was that nothing that we do or think is untouched by our own individual personality. And he actually demonstrated this is true even scientifically, totally ignoring philosophy or spirituality. I enjoy the philosophical and metaphysical approach, but listening to someone develop pretty nearly the same line of argument from a scientific, “popular economics,” style was intriguing.
Not Destroying Imaginations
I was also struck during several sections with the connections to Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child. Particularly on page 45 where Taylor begins demonstrating how one must have experiences directly with reality in order to imitate, in order to imagine. And I realized that most, and perhaps all if you stretch it, of Esolen’s ten ways had to do with cutting off children’s interaction with reality — with people, with nature, with self, with God.
So, I will be pondering this year how to foster and not ditch direct interactions with life. It might be saying yes to field trip opportunities even if it means skipping book lessons, it might mean having to force myself out the door to make nature walks actually happen. It will definitely mean allowing the children to garden with me and continuing their friendships through play days. It also means I will continue taking them all along with me on most errands, but to do so not treating them as additional baggage I am handling along the way, but as participants in life. I suppose I should also be letting them help more in the kitchen, too.
I might need another Costco bottle of Tylenol, but maybe, just maybe, the sowing will turn to reaping, if I do not give up.