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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Illusion of a Lack of Progress

There is a cognitive bias toward adjusting one's past to one's present. So if I learn something today, then a month from now it will seem like something I've always known. For example, I learned recently the the Walloons of Belgian are Francophone, or sometimes speakers of their own, Romance language. I had never known what they were before, and somehow had it in my mind that they were the opposite: speakers of Flemish.  I'm sure a year from now I'll think that I always knew who the  Walloons were.

On the piano, I cannot really remember exactly what I was playing a year ago, so I think of it, vaguely, as more or less what I'm playing now.  Yet my teacher says I am greatly improved, and I probably have. We can shortchange our own progress by failing to remember correctly our past competence (or lack of).

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