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Author: Frode Hegland

Updates, Future of my writing

Blogging

Since I’ve decided to write a book on Deep Literacy and I find it difficult to press on with writing since the subject area is so potentially large and I have to find some shape to present it in, I’ve decided to start blogging. Every day. Much will be chatty, some to the point and other will be actual sections of the book. Or such is the hope anyway.

I hope this will be less intimidating and a good way to get into the rhythm of writing every day. I wrote this on Sunday the 25th of May, before dinner with Emily’s parents, at the new wonderful Japanese restaurant in Putney. It was my kickoff post but I decided to break it up into several posts, so that I can tag them as Author, Liquid, Photography and so on, separately, hopefully making this slightly easier to read in the future…

But first, the general update.

Today is Sunday, the day after my dad’s birthday, where him and Emily and I went to the British Museum for the Vikings exhibition, which was a real treat for all of us. Mum is suffering from a bad back so she didn’t join us and we had thali delivery from Masla Zone which was fun and enjoyed by all. Much sleeping this weekend. Much love and harmony. So now I’m sitting writing this at the living room table, on my Apple 2013 MacBook air, listening to Cedar Walton on my B&O H6 Headphones, drinking cappuccino from my modern Picardy glass, made from my Starbucks Verismo espresso machine and the milk frother plus ice cold filtered water from the large recycled (looking) Starbucks glass I bought with Kevin in California. Emily is on the terrace, pottering about, wearing something green out of a 70’s wonder show, still looking elegant and bang up to date. This is a time I want to remember. iPad Air on the table, I’m wondering about maybe making an ePub reader, but it couldn’t open protected ePub’s which is a serious limitation, both to a project for me and for the evolution of reading in general. Moe’s iPhone 5 cover is on the far side of the table, the one with the built in USB stick. Genius. And strong visual and tactile design.

And LiSA tells me “it’s 5pm”. LiSA is running crash free again, after many years on and off. She is getting old though, having been introduced in 20o1 or so, but she is still vibrantly useful.

Work View

 

For updates on Author, Liquid, Teaching and Photography, please refer to separate posts.

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Photography Update

The RX-1 is always, always used with VSCO filters. I often use the TRI-X processing and often Fuji Superia or Kodak Portra for people shots (plus about 75% grain for the film). Interestingly though, I find, I use a x2 screw-on lens doubler so that the shots are 70mm as opposed to the default 35mm. In the very centre the optical quality of this £30 add-on does not do much at all, and in the fringes there is serious vignetting, but the out of focus bokeh becomes beautiful with a distinct analog feel. Combining this with always having as little solid black in the shadows and instead ramping the blacks, makes for quite a unique look I think, which I treasure.

The second thing worth mentioning is the viewfinder. I bought the RX-1 without thinking I’d need one. Tried the viewfinder in Singapore and found the response less than perfect so just didn’t use one. Then I tried Kevin’s A7 in California and the viewfinder was fine for taking pictures but amazing for reviewing the pictures and promptly ordered one online. I feel it can fall off a bit too easily so I might have to add some rubber or even glue it on. It really does add a whole new dimension to the joy of this camera and computer setup.

I leave the back-view black and white now since most of my photography is black and white, or monochrome and this adds to the unique pleasure of this setup. Anyway, here is Emily in the garden, taken a few moments ago:

Emily in the Garden

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Deep Literacy & Continual Learning

Deep Literacy is about knowing the tools of your trade very, very well, supporting your ability to thrive immersed in your work, not skimming around superficially, while continuously learning new tools and skills through work and dialog.

Learning

So let’s start by looking at what learning actually is: Learning is the process of knowledge or behaviour beaming part of you. Learning changes who you are.

Learn
Old English leornian “to get knowledge, be cultivated, study, read, think about,” from
Proto-Germanic liznojan, from
Proto Indo European leis-“rack, furrow.”

Learning new ways of doing things is hard work, and there are good reasons for this, as can be seen from our inclination towards healthy eating and exercise:

Fat & Sugar

Why is it that fatty foods are so attractive to us but they are so unhealthy? The answer is of course that in the vast majority of our history as a species, and all the time of the history of our ancestor species, fat and sugars were hard to come by it was a good idea for us to develop a taste for the highly concentrated energy.

Biological evolution has been overtaken by social and technological evolution so now our craving for what was before hard to come by is the default option.

Running

Why is it that running is so healthy but for most people it’s not pleasurable? It used to be that running was essential if we were to tire the beasts we needed to slaughter and bring home for the rest of the tribe. Humans are better at dealing with body heat than other animals so we can run for longer than any of the ones on our menu.

But why did we not simply fall in love with running and run all the time? Because we would simply not have enough food to support such an energy consuming lifestyle, so we developed a tendency towards laziness apart from when adrenaline pumped to spur us on to run and run, and with it, runners high for when we needed the long distances.

So here too, our evolutionary development put an activity within a spectrum of need vs. energy.

Learning

As a species humans are very good at doing what we have done before. Once we know how to ride a bike, we can ride a bike, we don’t need to learn how to do it again and again. Once we learn how to read, we know how to read, and so on.

If we want to learn a new sport or to read in another language, it takes significantly more time and real, hard mental effort to ‘get up to speed’, burning extra much sugar in the brain, to accomplish the change in our brains to ‘learn’, to ‘seat’ these new skills, these new behaviours, into our memories and processes.

This is for the same reason as it’s not really ‘natural’ for us to avoid fatty foods or run at leisure; committing something to memory comes at a cost since there is a chance it could disagree with something we already know: The older we are, the longer we have survived with the previous notion or skill, so the cost of changing is higher. We have acquired important life-lessons in childhood, when we know little and learn quickly but are supremely vulnerable as we have few automatic systems in place, only the very most basic ‘instincts’.

Let’s take this all the way to its logical conclusion, let’s see what it would be like if learning something new was not ‘backed up’ by the ability to learn and put the behaviour on automatic pilot: First of all, the decision overhead of deciding how to do anything since it can be done in any way would be huge. Imagine the simple act of going out to buy groceries; the way you walk could be completely different way from how you walked yesterday. You come across a door. What’s that all about? How about stairs? Or getting into, never mind driving, a car. The benefit of ‘automatically’ doing what you have done before would be lost.

Putting information, processes and perspectives into yourselves always be an energy and survival (for earlier evolutionary times) gamble. Putting the essentials on autopilot and leaving them as stable, slid behaviours and perspectives makes perfect sense in a world which is relatively static in your lifetime.

Today we live in an environment of daily work related change and massive, global change. We live in an environment where people who used to be separated are now coming together, with all the opportunity and friction that brings. We live in an environment where our social, poetical and financial interactions are so complicated that we cannot simply read a book or have a conversation and be confident we understand the issues in totality and in-depth.

We have to put learning front and centre.

This means treating continuous learning as a global priority. Not simply literacy of basic reading and writing, but continual literacy development of learning how to access, asses and share information as well as, crucially, how to discuss information with others, in continual, active dialog.

Whereas evolution, with it’s ‘blind’ optimisation of our survival based on our ancient historical environment, has optimised us for learning while young, then relying primarily on automatics, we now have to adapt or simply die, as a species.

The cost of sticking with what you have learnt when young is simply too high now.

And?…

And what is the point of this? If you feel you understand why something is the way it is, it might be easier to overcome it. That’s all. So go learn. And enjoy the ‘burn’ of learning something new, like you might enjoy the burn of a workout.

 

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