I think writers post to raise their feel good hormones. Serotonin from raising social standing, oxytocin from gathering or creating like minds, and dopamine from the work towards these rewards.
There is a fine invisible blurry line between outright bragging and inspirational thoughts about how to do something. The motivation is both, because serotonin and oxytocin. Status and group belonging. Too much status seeking causes envy and the loss of oxytocin though, and even the loss of status. Tricky invisible non-existent line. It’s a fake line of course; bragging is built into every single possible craft or art; it’s the whole fucking point of doing ANYTHING well. Look at me! Wow! Cool huh?! Oh, and YOU can too, so we’re on the same team. Let’s go!
Lately I tried to straddle that line in a way that is probably impossible. I tried to talk about the difference between playing “what would you say to a girl if” games, and the very contrasting frame of mind of being on the spot improvising in the moment, from a place as close to personal strategic-authenticity as possible.
It’s impossible to not come off as an ass while trying to do that. Just try it yourself. You’ll sound like an arrogant ass, for sure.
I’m trying to get around that now, by laughing at the whole project, pointing fingers at all the ingredients in the sausage, and letting it all hang out. It won’t work. I’ll still sound like an ass. This is an impossible project. Much like how talking about sexual attraction to fertile young women of a certain frowned upon age never goes well. No matter how good a job you do, it’s a job that can’t be done.
But here goes.
I’m trying to think out loud about improvisation. I’m a casual hobbyist player of musical instruments. I’m not quite good enough to call myself a musician, although I do make musicalish sounds. Compared to musicians, I’m not good at all, but compared to not being able to play at all, I’m pretty good. I’m happy with that, I don’t need to be anywhere else for it to be good enough for me, but I also really love to see improvement.
I’m also a very lazy student. And enjoy being creative. And impossibly forgetful. Therefore every time I play an instrument, I have no recollection whatsoever of any tune or fragment of a tune that I’ve ever invented before. Truly. I can only remember a theme of an improv that I’m working on while I’m playing it. The next day, or even the next hour, it’s gone forever. Bye bye.
My mind is quirky that way. My memory lands me in trouble with people with minds closer to the middle of the bell-curve, because I sound above average in some abilities, therefore people think that I have a memory. I don’t really have a memory. I never reminisce, because I can’t. When my friends play the remember when game, I can’t join in. Nope. Don’t remember at all. For me I have no option but to live for today. And I don’t even take pictures and the ones I have I rarely look at. Just not nostalgic for events. Nostalgic for relationships, sometimes, but not events. Can’t remember them, mostly.
So, like a blind person with hyper-acuity in hearing, my mind must have learned to compensate. There are several different circuits to memory, I can attest first hand, because if I make an emotional connection with someone, thereafter I’ll remember their face and voice. Without that I can spend conscious minute after minute trying to memorize the face and clothing, and 10 minutes later can’t recognize them as they return from the ATM to pay for my wares that I put aside for them. “Hi, can I help you?”
I think that this has something to do with improv.
There are different circuits in the brain that can be used, to deal with day to day interactions. I’ve had to rely on them, perhaps more than most. But like an idiot savant, it’s what you lack that brings out unusual other abilities that might otherwise have gone un-noticed.
I was doodling on the guitar today, and noticed that conscious analytical decisions were a part of the learning process, but after my fingers had the muscle memory of where the notes are, eventually I move into a more free flowing, less decision making oriented flow where beats quickly change and notes change without me realizing that I’ve made a decision about changing them. Sort of like my hands are playing the guitar by themselves, yet at the same time I’m even closer into the moment than before where I had to pick out the notes using conscious choice. Just exactly like singing a harmony part to your favorite song. You don’t realize what harmonies you are going to choose until after they are out of your mouth; you are just into the moment so much that you become the music; you sing the music. You don’t choose what music to sing. Less separation, while at the same time less decision.
I’ll leave this here and come back to it.
I had to look to see what science there is on this subject, and my subective intuitions are exactly mirrored in this study:
One shouldn’t really need an excuse to embed this fantastic performance by Thelonious Monk, but now there is one: NIDCD researchers believe that they have identified the cognitive neural substrate of jazz improvisation.
For the study, which is published in the open access journal PLoS One, Charles Lamb and Allen Braun recruited six professional jazz pianists. The participants were asked to play a specially-designed keyboard whilst their brain activity was monitored with functional magnetic resonance imaging.
In the control condition, the musicians were asked to play an ascending or descending scale, while during the experimental condition, they were allowed to improvise. The researchers were thus able to compare the brain activity correlated with performing a simple task in which the participants’ musical creativity was highly constrained, to that correlated with the far more complex improvised task.
It was found that the improvised condition was characterized by reduced activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain thought to be involved in the planning, organization and execution of behaviours. The implication is that deactivation activity in this area underlies the spontaneity required for the musicians’ improvisation.
And, regarding my intuition that impaired memory may actually facilitate improv, there is this:
“Improv is all about being in the moment, which for someone with memory loss, that is a very safe place,” says Mary O’Hara, a social worker at the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
When I’ve come across seduction ideas that are about memorizing scripts or stages of seduction, I didn’t just immediately blow them off out of arrogance, thinking that I had a superior technique. I also blew them off because I would have a very troubling time trying to memorize such things. That would really throw me off, and put me out of the moment, and disable what I know works for me, which is being in the moment. I can be in the moment. It’s the calling upon all these scripts that would really be difficult for me. Counterproductive, most likely. And I disagree that you need these crutches. I never used them, yet somehow I learned social skills, just by interacting and getting the theory. You don’t have to memorize theory in the same way as scripts; you can understand and apply it on the spot, in your own words.
It’s difficult to really pin point how to move into this now-moment where you trust your creativity. I think it has a lot to do with liking your own self and believing that he has something seductive and useful to give. Which is a bit chicken and egg, of course, because you need positive reference experiences from others that confirm your value; it’s not all internal game at all; that would be empty narcissism that would lead to low girl-retention and sub-optimal positive feedback. So I think we need to organically grow our social skills, perhaps by social climbing, starting with old or crazy people, or if you’re dick agrees, the less attractive. Then slowly get better and better, younger hotter tighter, and finally, the impossible to reach prize: young hot tight and not insane.
Oh, and at the same time, working on ones own mental and physical health, and value in all possible areas, so that we are empirically valuable, and our serotonin and testosterone naturally rise to reflect a genuine honest appreciation of our rightful place in the world. I’ve always advocated body centered meditations and mind training to accelerate mental and sexual fitness. And by now every one that talks about improving ones status with girls always talks about diet and gym.