The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I Err, Therefore I Am Human

This was supposed to post yesterday but the Blogger editor would not load so I had to set it up for today

It turns out, according to this article that the errors we make help us. Well, DUH!  Once again, a heap of research has shown what we already know... or should know... that we learn from mistakes and learn faster from those mistakes than we otherwise would.

Of course, that doesn't explain the people who make the same mistakes repeatedly... that's covered under Einstein's definition of insanity... "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

I wonder about that. Criminals fall under that definition, especially the ones we call "career criminals." They commit a crime, get arrested, and go to jail. And when they get out, they do it again. Perhaps they thought the mistake was in getting caught?

I have made repeated mistakes in my life. But I believe that was because I didn't recognize the mistake, I thought the mistake was something else... like the career criminal does.  The article was talking about learning "motor skills" (often referred to as "muscle memory"). Anyone who ever watched a toddler learning to walk knows mistakes he makes help him learn. It continues as the child learns to do other things: throw a ball, climb a ladder, talk, etc. But that learning never stops. Ask any golfer about mistakes. Most of us know immediately that we goofed in some small way but we often don't know just how and when the goof occurred. This makes it difficult to overcome.

Children are constantly learning (I call it "human programming") and have fewer mistakes to look back on, to file away, to categorize. They are more resilient; they recover more quickly than adults. They also make more mistakes because they are learning many new skills. Personally, I think it is vitally important that we teach them essential morality before they turn five.

But why concentrate on motor skills? Why not apply this knowledge to every new thing to learn?  It seems that these scientists have uncovered that also:

The surprise finding in the new study, published in Science Express, is that not only do errors train the brain to better perform a specific task, but they also teach it how to learn faster from errors, even when those errors are encountered in a completely different task.

“In this way, the brain generalizes from one task to another by keeping a memory of the errors,” the researchers said.

In other words, we learn how to learn.

Maybe being a klutz is helpful.

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