Thinking about Posco’s comment about the usefulness of knowing origin in tool use, when abstraction is ultimately more powerful. I tend to lock-up when I don’t know the originating context and ultimate application of an abstraction; a good chunk of my process is devoted to ferreting out that information before I start. Without this grounding, it just seems arbitrary memorization, which I find difficult because my memory works around organizing principles and associations. It has been difficult to find teachers capable of delivering this insight, which is why I’m so militant about it. It is one of the ways I don’t fit in with typical practice, which is a problem in some ways (slower startup) and a boon in others (better in the long run).
Posted on September 14, 2010 in Asides