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NancyLebovitz comments on For progress to be by accumulation and not by random walk, read great books - Less Wrong

35 Post author: MichaelVassar 02 March 2010 08:11AM

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Comment author: NancyLebovitz 16 April 2010 02:36:57PM *  2 points [-]

Thinking at the Edge might be useful.

It grew out of Focusing, a method based on observation of who got value from therapy and who didn't. Those who did all had a pattern of pausing, paying close attention to how they felt, spending some time searching for the exact words which satisfied them to express how they felt, and then saying them. I haven't seen any discussion of art or music therapy in this context.

Thinking at the Edge applies the method of close observation and expression of subtle feelings to cognition.

TAE requires a familiarity with Focusing. The participants in our first TAE were experienced Focusing people. This took care of the most difficult part of my university course. Nevertheless I expected it to fail, and I certainly experienced that it did fail. Some people did not even get as far as using logic, and most created no theory. Yet there was great satisfaction and even excitement. A great thing seemed to have happened, so I was grateful that I was saved any embarrassment. For some reason they did not feel cheated.

Later I understood. During the ensuring year many people wrote to us. They reported that they found themselves able to speak from what they could not say before, and that they were now talking about it all the time. And some of them also explained another excitement. Some individuals had discovered that they could think! What “thinking” had previously meant to many of them involved putting oneself aside and rearranging remembered concepts. For some the fact that they could create and derive ideas was the fulfillment of a need which they had despaired of long ago.

Now after five American and four German TAE meetings I am very aware of the deep political significance of all this. People, especially intellectuals, believe that they cannot think! They are trained to say what fits into a pre-existing public discourse. They remain numb about what could arise from themselves in response to the literature and the world. People live through a great deal which cannot be said. They are forced to remain inarticulate about it because it cannot be said in the common phrases. People are silenced! TAE can empower them to speak from what they are living through.

Comment author: CronoDAS 16 April 2010 05:38:46PM 1 point [-]

The writing at that link is confusing. It's too... "dense", let's say, and reminds me of attempts to sound profound by deliberately being hard to understand rather than actually being profound - what others may have called using too many "big words". I don't have a good way of describing the feeling of reading something hard to understand, and, when something is hard to understand, it's also hard to know whether it's worth putting in the effort to try to understand it or whether it's just gibberish. Am I making sense here?

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 16 April 2010 06:27:24PM 0 points [-]

You're making sense. I'm sure Focusing is legitimate, and TAE is the same process I use for accessing new ideas. The bit I quoted sounds like TAE is incredibly valuable for people who've gotten false ideas about thinking from school and/or mainstream society.

However, in spite of all this, I find the TAE site unreadable, and I can handle moderately difficult text.

I'm not sure what the problem is.I don't think it's the vocabulary-- it might be that there's too much philosophy inserted in the wrong places, but this is only a guess.

Comment author: thomblake 16 April 2010 06:43:28PM 1 point [-]

"Philosophy" should have been in scare quotes.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 16 April 2010 06:59:50PM 0 points [-]

Can you be more specific about that?

Comment author: CronoDAS 16 April 2010 06:36:41PM 0 points [-]

Yeah, there is definitely something very wrong with the writing style on that site.