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robertogreco : mimicry   18

“All the time.”
"David Cox:
Yesterday, a student gave me step-by-step directions to solve a Rubik’s Cube. I finished it, but had no idea what I was doing. At times, I just watched what he did and copied his moves without even looking at the cube in my hands.

When we were finished, I exclaimed, “I did it!”, received a high-five from the student and some even applauded. For a moment, I felt like I had accomplished something. That feeling didn’t last long. I asked the class how often they experience what I just did.

They said, “All the time.”

Featured Comment

Lauren Beitel:
Is there an argument to be made that sometimes the conceptual understanding comes from repeating a procedure, then reflecting on it? Discovering/noticing patterns through repetition?

Great question. I wrote a comment [http://blog.mrmeyer.com/2016/all-the-time/#comment-2430188 ] in response."
math  teaching  education  danmeyer  learning  understanding  sfsh  repetition  mimicry  davidcox  laurenbeitel  via:lukeneff  howwelearn  howweteach  schools  meaningmaking 
november 2016 by robertogreco
3 destructive things you learned in school without realizing it - Vox
" So in the spirit of graduation season, I figured it'd be nice to talk about what school does and does not teach you. Because if I've learned one thing, it's that who you were in school is not necessarily who you are destined to be in life. In fact, often it's quite the opposite.

1) You learned that success comes from the approval of others

We seem to live in a culture today where people are more concerned with appearing to be something important rather than actually being something important. See: the Kardashian sisters, Donald Trump, 63 percent of all Instagram users, athletes who make rap albums, the entire US Congress, etc.

There are a number of reasons for this, but a large part of it is that as we grow up, we are rewarded and punished based on meeting the approval of other people's standards, not our own. Make good grades. Take advanced courses. Play on sports teams. Score highly on standardized tests. These metrics make for a productive workforce but not a happy workforce.

Our education system is performance-based and not purpose-based. It teaches mimicry and not passion.

The whys of life are far more important than the whats of life, and that's a message that is rarely communicated growing up.

You can be the best advertiser in the world, but if you're advertising fake penis pills, then your talent is not an asset to society but a liability. You can be the best investor in the world, but if you're investing in foreign companies and countries that make their profits through corruption and human trafficking, then your talent is not an asset to society but rather a liability. You can be the best communicator in the world, but if you're teaching religious fanaticism and racism, then your talent is not an asset but rather a liability.

Growing up, everything you're told to do is for no other purpose than to earn the approval of others around you. It's to satisfy somebody else's standard. How many times growing up did you ever hear the complaint, "This is pointless. Why do I have to learn this?" How many times do I hear adults saying, "I don't even know what I like to do; all I know is I'm not happy"?

Our education system is performance-based and not purpose-based. It teaches mimicry and not passion.

Performance-based learning isn't even efficient. A kid who is excited about cars is going to have a hell of a better time learning about math and physics if math and physics can be put in the context of what he cares about. He's going to retain more of it and become curious to discover more on his own.

But if he isn't responsible for the why of what he is learning, then what he's learning isn't physics and math, it's how to fake it to make someone else happy. And that's an ugly habit to ingrain into a culture. It churns out a mass of highly efficient people with low self-esteem.

In the past few decades, concerned parents and teachers have tried to remedy this self-esteem issue by making it easier for kids to feel successful. But this just makes the problem worse. Not only are you training kids to base their self-worth on the approval of others, but now you're giving them that approval without them having to actually do anything to earn it!

Or as Branford Marsalis, one of the greatest saxophone players of all time, so eloquently put it:

[video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rz2jRHA9fo , previously bookmarked https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:f9d0b4b244e0 ]

External performance markers are fine, and likely even necessary, but they're not sufficient. There has to be a new starting point. There has to be personal purpose introduced into education at some point. There needs to be a why to learning to go with the what. The problem is that everybody's why is personal, and it's impossible to scale. Especially when teachers are so overworked and underpaid.

2) You learned that failure is a source of shame

Earlier this year I had lunch with one of those people who you just can't believe exists. He had four degrees, including a master's from MIT and a PhD from Harvard (or was it a master's from Harvard and a PhD from MIT? I can't even remember). He was at the top of his field, worked for one of the most prestigious consulting firms, and had traveled all over the world working with top CEOs and managers.

And he told me he felt stuck. He wanted to start a business, but he didn't know how.

And he wasn't stuck because he didn't know what to do. He knew exactly what he wanted to do. He was stuck because he didn't know if it was the right thing to do.

He told me that throughout his entire life he had mastered the art of getting it right on the first try. That's how schools reward you. That's how companies reward you. They tell you what to do, and then you nail it. And he could always nail it.

But when it came to creating something new, doing something innovative, stepping out into the unknown, he didn't know how to do it. He was afraid. Innovation requires failure, and he didn't know how to fail. He had never failed before!

There has to be personal purpose introduced into education at some point



3) You learned to depend on authority

Sometimes I get emails from readers who send me their life stories and then ask me to tell them what to do. Their situations are usually impossibly personal and complex. And so my answer is usually, "I have no clue." I don't know these people. I don't know what they're like. I don't know what their values are or how they feel or where they come from. How would I know?

I think there's a tendency for most of us to be scared of not having someone tell us what to do. Being told what to do can be comfortable. It can feel safe, because ultimately you never feel entirely responsible for your fate. You're just following the game plan.

Blind obedience causes more problems than it solves. It kills creative thinking. It promotes mindless parroting and inane certainty. It keeps crap TV on the air.

That doesn't mean authority is always harmful. It doesn't mean authority serves no purpose. Authority will always exist and will always be necessary for a well-functioning society.

…"
markmanson  education  failure  unschooling  deschooling  schooliness  authority  conformity  success  dependence  independence  shame  mimicry  passion  schools  schooling  branfordmarsalis 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Alex Blandford — Government and the cargo cult
"As part of work with Parliament User Group recently, we’ve been trying to think about the institutional blockers to reform and “progress” (without the Soviet, vanguardist associations).

One of the ones that came up a few times was the issue of “we’ve always done it like this, so we shall continue to do it like this”. Inertia is a powerful force in large organisations, especially ones with an aversion to being seen to fuck up.

There is an obverse to this, especially in the case of Parliament and a lot of Local Authorities: “We’re not GDS, so we won’t do anything that they do”. Wishing to have a sense of individuality is not uncommon. We’ll do this thing - we’ll succeed. We’ll show them.

Both of these behaviours come from a lack of strategic understanding. Simon Wardley has put it around 1000x better than I could: “why does a general bombard a hill? It isn’t because 95% of other generals did the same thing”.

[video]

Understanding where your business/organisation is going is absolutely vital. Merely saying (in government especially) that you will do open source because GDS did it (but did they really) or that you won’t be focusing on user needs as you are internal only (no word of a lie, have had this chat) is doomed to failure, and likely an expensive and public failure.

Mimicry in this space is often called Cargo Culting; an allusion to a particular fascination of anthropologists in the post-war period (although it goes back a lot further).

You can read up on it at wikipedia including how it came to be used in this context. But my problem with this is that cargo cults and their formation have very little to do with the way that we use the phrase, and I am hugely uncomfortable with the ethnocentrism involved in using the phrase. It relies on an implicit assumption that people in “tribes” are somehow dumb and that they see an airplane and thus mimic it like children. There is a huge long list of reading on how we treat people in tribes like children, and rob them of a claim to complex thought. I’d like to think we can do better in our metaphors.

So I thought I’d try and reverse this a little bit. Taking the same broad brush strokes as everyone else, I’d like to consider Trobriand Cricket. It’s not quite in the same bit of the Pacific as the cargo cults, but it has a similar use of “western” ideas.

[video]

This game is a syncretic mix of cricket as introduced by missionaries to the Trobriand Islands (along with football), and the rituals of war on the islands. It includes teams whose victory dances for a catch include references to WW2 soldiers and military materiel. Many of the islanders are university educated.

Now. Unless we’re going to say that Norwich City’s canary branding is part of an animistic shaman cult led by Delia Smith, this all seems quite normal for sport. Or even life. You have a game, you change it to fit your local context. You understand your strategy. It is also worth pointing out that the Prince Philip Movement’s cult of personality around the Duke of Edinburgh wouldn’t look out of place in the comments section of a number of national newspapers.

Here’s where it breaks down though. The game was imposed by missionaries. The way that these people lived was changed irreparably by British colonialism. The power dynamics in this idea are huge. So changing the game becomes a response to colonialism. A way of maintaining some control against overwhelming power.

And there is where my discomfort is. What people in the Pacific were often doing was a response to the invasion of their land, and its use as a strategic assett in war. Many islanders died. The power relations and political history of the phrase have been shed so that it becomes a glib way of comparing someone’s actions to the old saying about the definition of insanity as being the repetition of something expecting a previous result to the previous time.

As I mentioned yesterday, ‘disruption’ can feel like an existential threat to the status quo. It is all around us, and the internet is going to change how you do your job. Or else someone who will change will put you out of business, or make your organisation seem too inefficient by comparison. Copying your work of the kid at the next desk won’t work. Learning together and open conversation might help. But treat this as a plea: don’t get sucked in by tired cliche. Shorthand is just that - a reminder of the nuance and complexity that has been left out.

Go out and explore that."
alexblandford  2015  cargocult  disruption  complexity  nuance  copying  mimicry  imitation  systemsthinking  organizations  power  anthropology  ethnography  gds 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Supercargo - Subversive Mimickry
"How do we cope with the unknown, invisible yet overwhelming economic forces? As the shaman hides behind a ghouls mask, to become one with the unknown. To gain control, he first camouflages himself. This peculiar appropriation of codes can be used to gain influence over oneself and overwhelming power. Be is it nature, capitalism or art history. The strategy derived from the Cargo Cults is that of subversive Mimickry, a forgery of signals. It represents a tool to confront given economic realities, the overwhelming influences on the artist in form of capitalist imagery. The global market inside your head.

The strategy of mimickry in a functional environment is now tested. In this case, the signal always functions to deceive the receiver by preventing it from correctly identifying the mimic. Supercargo is then introduced into the common circulation of goods."
petermoosgaard  mimicry  cargocult  supercargo  2015  subversion  capitalism  shamanism  nature  imagery  markets  deception 
april 2015 by robertogreco
This Bird Tricks Other Animals Into Handing Over Their Meals | Science | Smithsonian
"The African drongo mimics warning calls of other animals to scare them away from food, but mixes true warnings with lies to keep those animals guessing"
animals  birds  lies  mimicry  2014  drongo  behavior  deception  nature  drones  droneproject 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Inside the United States | GlobalPost
"GlobalPost goes inside the United States to uncover the regime’s dramatic descent into authoritarian rule and how the opposition plans to fight back."

"This is satire. Although the news is real, very little actual reporting was done for this story and the quotes are imagined. It is the first installment of an ongoing series that examines the language journalists use to cover foreign countries. What if we wrote that way about the United States? "
us  journalism  media  authoritarianism  mimicry  china  globalpost  petergelling  satire 
june 2013 by robertogreco
The Pantograph Punch — At the Service of the Unusual
"Throughout our discussion Shaun kept talking about engineers. At the time I had very little idea what an engineer did but it was their language Shaun was using. Instead of adapting Shaun’s words into something I understood, something familiar, I wondered what would happen if I put my work at the service of the unusual. If I let the ideas and words of engineering rule my work rather than trying to force them into the shape of conventional fiction. Would I be able to recreate the odd way I had perceived those buildings on that day?"



"Where I’d always aimed to achieve mimicry I needed to attain literacy. I needed to find some engineers but I couldn’t just observe them, I needed to come out from the corners and ask them to teach me and test me. I found one engineer in particular, Andrew Charleson. Andrew works at Victoria University School of Architecture and Design. When I first met him he described himself as an engineer who had been ‘acrhictectualised’. He told me, if I was serious, I needed to take some courses he was running about structure."



"George Saunders was an engineer, so was Fyodor Dostoevsky, Neville Shute, Robert Musil, L. Sprague de Camp, Robert Louis Stevenson, Kurt Vonnegut and Norman Mailer. Also, most of the engineers I talked to had a very wide reading habit. The myth of men reading only non-fiction seemed to be smashed by the engineers I met, a couple of whom wrote short stories and poetry themselves. But I wasn’t an engineer who wrote fiction, I was a writer who was pretending, play-acting at being an engineering student."
writing  empathy  learning  engineering  perception  language  vocabulary  thinking  mindset  georgesaunders  dostoyevsky  nevilleshute  robertmusil  robertlouisstevenson  kurtvonnegut  lspraguedecamp  normanmailer  2013  pipadam  poetry  storytelling  pretending  playacting  fiction  mimicry  vonnegut 
may 2013 by robertogreco
What American English sounds like to non-English speakers - YouTube
"Prisecolinensinenciousol, a parody by Adriano Celentano for the Italian TV programme Mileluci is sung entirely in gibberish designed to sound like American English."

[See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisencolinensinainciusol ]
pronunciation  accents  adrianocelentano  foreignears  perception  sound  parody  gibberish  italy  italian  us  english  americanenglish  language  prisencolinensinainciusol  2018  music  songs  nonsense  mimicry 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Future Perfect » Mimic, Rote Learn, Evolve
"This photo may not seem like much – just another shot of Omotesando kiddies giving it the “niii”. Except that this was taken by my 22 month old daughter, using a Canon dSLR. That she can lift something that heavy, look through the viewfinder, align the shot, find the button and press it with enough force to trigger the shot, and then peers at the back screen to view what she’s taken is at first glance pretty amazing. Like a kid cocking a Magnum. This is not proud parent post – it merely follows in the wake of many parents commenting about their babies/infants use of tech – swiping/jabbing/drooling on touch screen devices, the ‘my kid can use an iPad’ moment.

This are the tools that make up our children’s landscape – and they are as natural as forks and electronic calculators and electric car windows are to you and me.

At that age we mimic, if there’s enough pay-off we rote learn, and if there’s enough payoff we evolve that learning."
janchipchase  technology  absorption  mimicry  learning  children  cameras  ipad  digitalnatives  observation  copycatkids  2011  evolution  rotelearning  rote 
november 2011 by robertogreco
Quote Details: Oscar Wilde: Most people are other... - The Quotations Page
"Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone elses opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation."
oscarwilde  authenticity  mimicry  imitation  life  living  personhood  passion  self  conformism 
october 2011 by robertogreco
OBIA, THE THIRD
"If you asked me now who I am, the only answer I could give with any certainty would be my name. For the rest: my loves, my hates, down even to my deepest desires, I can no longer say whether these emotions are my own, or stolen from those I once so desperately wished to be."

—Evelyn Waugh: Brideshead Revisited, 1945.
evelynwaugh  identity  mimicry  personhood  1945 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Conan O’Brien’s Dartmouth Commencement Address ... - AUSTIN KLEON : TUMBLR
"whole address is so good, but I keep coming back to… [part] about how failure to perfectly copy our heroes leads to finding our own voice…

"Way back in the 1940s there was a very, very funny man named Jack Benny. He was a giant star, easily one of the greatest comedians of his generation. And a much younger man named Johnny Carson wanted very much to be Jack Benny. In some ways he was, but in many ways he wasn’t. He emulated Jack Benny, but his own quirks and mannerisms, along with a changing medium, pulled him in a different direction. And yet his failure to completely become his hero made him the funniest person of his generation. David Letterman wanted to be Johnny Carson, and was not, and as a result my generation of comedians wanted to be David Letterman. And none of us are. My peers and I have all missed that mark in a thousand different ways. But the point is this : It is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique.""
conano'brien  dartmouth  creativity  voice  identity  humor  2011  change  mannerisms  johnnycarson  davidletterman  jackbenny  failure  copying  mimicry  quirkiness  personality  mutations  babyboomers  uniqueness  success  nietzsche  disappointment  socialmedia  innovation  spontaneity  satisfaction  convictions  fear  reinvention  perceivedfailure  self-defintion  clarity  originality  commencementspeeches  boomers  commencementaddresses 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Neil Gaiman - Wikipedia
"For his seventh birthday, Gaiman received C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia series. He later recalled that "I admired his use of parenthetical statements to the reader, where he would just talk to you...I'd think, 'Oh, my gosh, that is so cool! I want to do that! When I become an author, I want to be able to do things in parentheses.' I liked the power of putting things in brackets.""
writing  classideas  dialogue  narration  storytelling  via:lukeneff  neilgaiman  literature  books  cslewis  chroniclesofnarnia  parentheticalstatements  brackets  thewaywespeak  thewaywewrite  howwethink  mimicry  copying  voice  dialog  parenthesis  parentheses 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Eating healthy helps others | Eating healthy helps others | Institute For The Future
"On the other hand, kids who are frequently exposed to people who do not act on their impulses all the time develop a sense of their own potential to exercise self-control. When parents and peers regularly choose carrots over cookies, kids internalize these examples and "catch" the healthy habit of avoiding unhealthy indulgences.

This suggests to me that if we want to break the cycle of childhood obesity, we need to have parents set the right example. The message shouldn't be, "Eat all of your vegetables because I said so." Instead, you should be eating all of your vegetables, too. And resisting that piece of chocolate cake for dessert."
health  modeling  parenting  behavior  mimicry  food  habits  self-control  deschooling  unschooling  tcsnmy 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Psychology - Mimicry - Persuasion - How to Build Rapport - New York Times
"They have found that immediate social bonding between strangers is highly dependent on mimicry, a synchronized and usually unconscious give and take of words and gestures that creates a current of good will between two people."
psychology  mimicry  persuasion  salesmanship  social  f2f  influence  human  behavior 
february 2008 by robertogreco

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