15.12.08

Change & Adaptation

I've always thought my brain was a fairly useful part of my anatomy.

But since my climbing accident last year, I've gained an increased awareness of the ways in which it is quite unreliable.

So, an article in this week's New Zealand Listener grabbed my attention immediately. It was a plug, under the guise of an interview, (and by whom, I don't recall) for a recent book by New York University professor Gary Marcus. The New Scientist reviewed it here earlier this year. The main point seems clear enough: the brain was not so much designed, as cobbled together, using a kiwi "number 8 wire" method, with whatever was at hand.

In a word, the brain is a kluge [rhymes with deluge].

Here's an example of one (from his blog).












Although it isn't elegant, it works – more or less! It certainly isn't the solution you'd come up with if you started from scratch.

It's a word which now seems indispensable!

My life is a bit of a kluge. One bit gets added on to the previous bit and I try to fit it all together with a careful narrative that is flexible enough to accommodate various about-turns!

So, we're moving up to Fox Glacier soon. I decided to apply for a position at Fox Glacier School, equivalent to the one I have here at Jacobs River, and was offered the job last week. It's a sudden change in some ways, but one which has obvious benefits for me professionally, and for us as a family.

Something that surprises me is how, no matter what decision I make, I usually find a way of justifying it to myself. It's one of those unreliable things about the brain!

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