Archive for May 28th, 2012
How can I be more efficient, both at work and elsewhere? How can I focus my efforts to be one of those people who gives annoying cliche, “110% effort?” I was recently reminded of a book that provides a metaphor for my personal quest to be efficient, but it also provides a powerful lesson on the topic of artificial boundaries.
First, a bit of background. About 12 years ago, I had the opportunity to audit several graduate-level seminars taught by philosopher Andy Clark while he was on the faculty at Washington University in St. Louis. Andy often stressed that cognition should not be conceptualized as merely the firing of neurons within a human skull. This idea is central to his writings. In a book Andy wrote in 1997, Being There: Putting Brain, Body, and World Together Again, he tells a fish story. It is the scientific story of the astounding swimming efficiency of fish, and it is also a caveat that we humans are so utterly interconnected with our environments that we need to stop characterizing those things outside of our bodies and brains as obstacles to our accomplishments. The following excerpt is from page 219-220, the beginning of the chapter titled “Minds, Brains, and Tuna: a Summary and Brine.”
Memorial Day Question: Why do we need to honor 6,440 U.S. soldiers who died in Afghanistan and Iraq?
Answer: Because they were asked to go there.
To put this day into perspective, I’ve re-published this image by “ARG” at Pixwit (with permission of the artist):
Additional note from the artist:
Chicken Heart Winner (Five-deferment Dick)
November 17, 2005: As Vice President Dick Cheney attacks the Democrats for questioning the honesty of the president’s warmaking, Congressman John Murtha, himself a decorated Korean War and Vietnam War combat veteran and a staunch warhawk, announces it’s time to bring the troops home. Concerning Mr. Cheney’s ranting, Murtha resorted to uncharacteristic sarcasm: “I like guys who got five deferments and have never been there and send people to war and then don’t like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done.” Concerning Cheney’s lack of military service, he’s on record: “I had other priorities in the ’60s than military service.”