Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sudden jolts

In line with a previous post on how the disorienting experience of schizophrenia can sharpen the intellect there is a recent article in the New York Times that reinforces this message.

Jack Mezirow, a professor emeritus at Columbia Teachers College, has proposed that adults learn best if presented with what he calls a “disorienting dilemma,” or something that “helps you critically reflect on the assumptions you’ve acquired.”

This article advises the aging brain to do anything from learning a foreign language to taking a different route to work.. . Continued brain development and a richer form of learning may require that you “bump up against people and ideas” that are different.

When you are confronted with what others all around you are calling a tragedy, the kind of experience that shakes up your world, rather than retreat within your normal defense mechanisms, this is the time to rise above it, to learn from it and to find something inspiring in it. By doing so, you just may be helping your brain to stay fit.

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