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robertogreco : explaining   9

Frank Chimero - Sharing and Giving, Collections and Gifts
"This is what good gifts feel like. We are educated to the nature of them so that we may appreciate them more fully. This is the point of sharing something…For us to properly value it, we must understand the quality of it & have a story to understand why it is so precious. Something travels from me to you, & in the process, we both gain.

…odd when we talk about writing: our modes are at extreme ends of spectrum in size of audience. We typically discuss writing for ourselves vs publishing for many, but don’t spend a great deal of time thinking about what it is like to write for 1 person. We may write for 1 individual frequently thru things like email, but it is not often considered, & hardly ever celebrated. My friend Rob Giampietro said “there’s something about writing for 1 other person, the epistle, the letter, the thought that’s offered to someone specifically—it’s very special indeed.” He said this in an email…makes the point self-referential in the best possible way."
sharing  gifts  collections  storytelling  frankchimero  robgiampietro  audience  audiencesofone  explaining  description  sensemaking  meaning  social  cv  oneonone  2011 
may 2011 by robertogreco
The following is from Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut (22 January 2003, Interconnected)
"Paul Slazinger has had all his clothes and writing materials brought here. He is working on his first volume of non-fiction, to which he has given this title: The Only Way to Have a Successful Revolution in Any Field of Human Activity.

For what it's worth: Slazinger claims to have learned from history that most people cannot open their minds to new ideas unless a mind-opening team with a peculiar membership goes to work on them. Otherwise, life will go on exactly as before, no matter how painful, unrealistic, unjust, ludicrous, or downright dumb that life may be.

The team must consist of three sorts of specialists, he says. Otherwise, the revolution, whether in politics or the arts of the sciences or whatever, is sure to fail.

The rarest of these specialists, he says, is an authentic genius -- a person capable of having seeminly good ideas not in general circulation. 'A genius working alone,' he says, 'is invariably ignored as a lunatic.'

The second sort of specialist is a lot easier to find: a highly intelligent citizen in good standing in his or her community, who understands and admires the fresh ideas of the genius, and who testifies that the genius is far from mad. 'A person working like that alone,' says Slazinger, 'can only yearn out loud for changes, but fail to say what their shapes should be.'

The third sort of specialist is a person who can explain anything, no matter how complicated, to the satisfaction of most people, no matter how stupid or pigheaded they may be. 'He will say almost anything in order to be interesting or exciting,' says Slazinger. 'Working alone, depending solely on his own shallow ideas, he would be regarded as being as full of shit as a Christmas turkey.'"

[Update 13 May 2013: Now also here: http://magicalnihilism.com/2013/05/13/i-can-never-find-this-quote-about-revolutions-by-vonnegut-so-im-sticking-it-here-for-safe-keeping/ and here http://robertogreco.tumblr.com/post/50358994041/the-mind-opening-team ]
mattwebb  bluebeard  vonnegut  genius  innovation  specialists  communication  translation  cv  revolutions  movements  mindchanges  via:tomc  humans  specialization  generalists  trust  explainers  explaining  testimony  2003  kurtvonnegut  mindchanging 
january 2011 by robertogreco
a personal note that turns out to be secretly about the internet - a grammar
"But it’s a bad habit, plus sort of comical and annoying and time-wasting for everyone involved, this appointing yourself as the one who thinks he can help explain people to one another. Plus you can forget that people don’t actually need to understand one another, and it’s really quite fine if they just enact a conflict without getting anywhere, or yell at each other, or talk at cross purposes."
arbitration  understanding  argument  arguing  arguments  time-wasting  explaining  disagreement  nitsuhabebe 
september 2010 by robertogreco
Institute for Advanced Study - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Richard Feynman on the place: "When I was at Princeton in the 1940s I could see what happened to those great minds at the Institute for Advanced Study, who had been specially selected for their tremendous brains and were now given this opportunity to sit in this lovely house by the woods there, with no classes to teach, with no obligations whatsoever. These poor bastards could now sit and think clearly all by themselves, OK? So they don't get any ideas for a while: They have every opportunity to do something, and they're not getting any ideas. I believe that in a situation like this a kind of guilt or depression worms inside of you, and you begin to worry about not getting any ideas. And nothing happens. Still no ideas come.

Nothing happens because there's not enough real activity and challenge: You're not in contact with the experimental guys. You don't have to think how to answer questions from the students. Nothing!"
education  princeton  science  thinking  ideas  richardfeynman  teaching  explaining  constraints  freedom  challenge  motivation  instituteforadvancedstudy  freemandyson  alberteinstein  paulerdos 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Can explainers be the basis for a revenue stream? Voice of San Diego’s Scott Lewis thinks so » Nieman Journalism Lab
"It’s that second part that’s the subject of this video interview with Scott Lewis, VOSD’s CEO (whew, lots of initials there). Telling stories is one thing, but providing the analysis needed for public action is another. Led by Matt Thompson, the quest for context and explanation has been a hot topic for some time in future-of-journalism circles. But Scott explains here that he thinks explainers might be part of a business model, too: the kind of added value that convinces people to become a member of VOSD or otherwise contribute financially."
sandiego  voiceofsandiego  journalism  news  online  explainers  explaining  scottlewis  innovation 
april 2010 by robertogreco
when richard feynman (3 January 2010, Interconnected)
"When Richard Feynman refuses to explain how magnets work he fidgets and bounces and puffs in a way I recognise from a friend with long-term mental illness, who does this when he gets excited and gets really into explaining a topic. ... The repulsion of magnets is the same as the repulsion you get when you push your hand against the sofa and it pushes back.
richardfeynman  physics  magnets  definitions  explaining  magneticforce  brain  excitement  mattwebb  mentalillness  2010  mentalhealth 
january 2010 by robertogreco
The Believer - Interview with David Foster Wallace
"It might be that one of the really significant problems of today’s culture involves finding ways for educated people to talk meaningfully with one another across the divides of radical specialization...not just the polymer chemist talking to the semiotician, but people with special expertise acquiring the ability to talk meaningfully to us, meaning ordinary schmoes...As of now, of course, they’re rare. What they have is a particular kind of genius that’s not really part of their specific area of expertise as such areas are usually defined and taught. There’s not really even a good univocal word for this kind of genius—which might be significant. Maybe there should be a word; maybe being able to communicate with people outside one’s area of expertise should be taught, and talked about, and considered as a requirement for genuine expertise."
davidfosterwallace  communication  genius  interdisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  explaining  politics  literature  interviews  cv  generalists 
september 2008 by robertogreco

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