Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Spectro-Psychography II

Originally posted on August 25, 2012

For some time I’ve been thinking about how there are so many things that are best thought about as as spectrum, from too little to just right, to too much. I hinted at this in my post yesterday and wrote about this also on my website

Another boost to this idea was the work my son David has done in writing yet another of his fascinating explorations into wonder-mentality: Spectrums. I suggested that he include a section on mind-spectrums, but there was already too much in the book as it was. So spectro-psychography would have to be my book, or ours. It’s been a side play with lots of ideas.

Basically, the mind operates in so many ways from a little to a lot, in sensitivity, in reaction tendencies, in how much I want or prefer or hate or feel scared. It’s often not a matter of either-or, but rather a mixture, somewhere in-between and with edges of other variables impinging.

The usefulness of this is simple: When we realize that qualities are experienced on a scale:
   – we can want to modulate it, wanting more, or less, or realizing that it’s just right—we would be uncomfortable if it were more or less!
   – we can tone ourselves down, quiet ourselves, center ourselves, recognizing that surges of emotion don’t define who we are, but are just surges of motion coming from e—outside, or hormones like adrenaline—old reaction patterns, addictions, etc.
   – We can consider that there are a fair number of folks who naturally are more sensitive at whatever, or perhaps less so—they just don’t see it, feel it, as much. Sometimes we can intensify our skill, if we want to, by some percentage, but probably not a lot. Talent seems innate. The ironic thing is that certain skills that are held by people in power or status tend to be thought of as qualities that can be gained if only one was righteous enough or made enough effort. It used to be that folks believed there really were some people innately superior to others—aristocrats, for example, or races. But even within groups generally scorned by the majority, there are status gradients of skin color, hair quality, etc. But these innate qualities are not so common anymore. The point is that we “privilege” certain skills, temperaments, and talents and minimize our respect for certain other innate dispositions.

What if the kids we now call “hyperactive” were respected as the great hunters twenty thousand years ago? I imagine someone saying, “Ah yes, Zark: He could see a deer in the forest and stalk it when we wouldn’t have seen it. Great hunter.”

So I’ll start posting occasional observations about the ranges of ability. It’s not easy. We have a tendency to assume others are like us, or can’t understand how they’re different. Spectro-psychography may help.

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