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Jul 17, 2008 7:11am

beginner's mind

Is it possible to train or cultivate the beginner's mind? Can you teach yourself to delay preconception and judgement when seeing new things?

Comments (9)

  1. I wish so ;-) At the moment I am trying to achieve this by increasing alertness and observe things as they happen. Good luck Michał!

    Posted by Tomek on Thursday, July 17 2008 11:34am UTC

  2. Wasn't that what the psychedelig 60s was all about?

    Posted by Claus Dahl on Thursday, July 17 2008 7:44pm UTC

  3. Acid has been suggested as a potential approach. ;) The thing that got me thinking along these lines was passing by an industrial facility in the car last night, it looked like a spaceship, or a movie set. I got to thinking about how a younger me might not have dismissed that perception quite so quickly, maybe held onto it a little longer. I remembered back to first growing familiar with San Francisco, first learning how all the geographic pieces fit together, and the surprise I felt as each section fell into place. One thought I had was that it would make sense to force yourself to have a beginner mindset just by trying new things frequently ... if you're often required to be a beginner, how can you ride the line between miserable helplessness and productive advancement? Constant learning, I suppose.

    Posted by Michal Migurski on Thursday, July 17 2008 9:20pm UTC

  4. I do it by trying to learn a new language. (Valid for any reasonable definition of "language".) So far it's worked pretty well every time...

    Posted by Cassidy on Saturday, July 19 2008 5:05am UTC

  5. isn't this the teaching of zen?

    Posted by brandon on Monday, July 21 2008 8:30pm UTC

  6. A less abstract but analogous goal that I strive for is to remember the state of the world in which I did not know something. Whenever I need to teach someone else, having some idea of how I thought previously makes me a more effective teacher.

    Posted by Richard Crowley on Monday, July 21 2008 11:37pm UTC

  7. Richard, I like that idea of temporal introspection: what were things like when I thought differently? There are certain things that I would enjoy forgetting and re-learning. I'm thinking about a movie I saw in one of my psychology classes at UCB, about one of those cases where a subject can form no new memories. (Korsakoff's syndrome, various accidents, etc.) It was like Memento, but this guy spent his days in a constant happy haze of surprise - every time he turned around he was pleasantly surprised by something he had just forgotten. "Oh, lunch! Oh, a visitor!" It's a good thing he started in a happy mood I guess.

    Posted by Michal Migurski on Tuesday, July 22 2008 6:59am UTC

  8. My favorite form of "temporal introspection" (nice!) is the city of San Francisco. Before I moved here I spent a lot of time (blissfully) lost in the city. I have more than once come back to an area, now knowing the geography very well, and remembered what it was like when I was lost and wandering in that area.

    Posted by Richard Crowley on Tuesday, July 22 2008 5:27pm UTC

  9. So then, the first important thing to forget about SF geography is Mission, between 14th and 11th streets. Without that particular armpit, the connective tissue between the Mission and SOMA completely falls apart. The second important thing to forget about SF geography is all of Duboce Triangle. That should take you back to SF novice state. =)

    Posted by Michal Migurski on Wednesday, July 23 2008 1:15am UTC

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