Sunday, August 02, 2015

Black One

When we listen to a language we don't understand, there is just a string of sound. The idea of spaces in between words for reading wasn't the way writing started either. Scrolls were just strings of letters. Punctuation to help us understand came later (Emojis even later). The same is true of the way we see. Part of our ability to see in 3 dimensions comes from memory. We rapidly recognise objects and from their size, and the relationship we expect between them, our minds are able to create the world we see. A mass of intermingled blue, green, and brown becomes the sky, leaves and a tree.

Meaning creates our world. Things that matter have meaning. What we see depends on what we've seen. The rest is a blur of sound, colour, smells, objects, and people. Game of Thrones is nasty to us. It makes characters meaningful to us before it gets rid of them. We are unaffected by the string of deaths in battle scenes. Create a connection, and a single death can be gutting.

Part of what fascinates me with Mentalists as magicians is their ability to add meaning to the world. The incredible memory tricks come through paying attention and creating connections. They 'build worlds' in their heads with paths between ideas that matter to them. They see the same blur of a world going past as we do, but they have learnt more of the words. They have learnt more of the sounds. They have learnt more of the smells. All these different sources of flavour create a richer world.

Three shades of Black - Grandfather in trademark overalls in the workshop

One blur for me has been mechanical things. My Grandfather is at his happiest when he is elbow deep in grease in his garage and my Dad did mechanical engineering. It is therefore weird that I am not 'mechanically minded'. This is not true though. I just haven't learnt the language. So when my brother who has done the Cape Epic asked me what commuting bike I bought in London 7 years ago, my answer was a 'Black One'. I understand the language of colour.

Everybody knows a Dave. One of my favourite Dave's is my brother.

It is time for all that to change. Yesterday my brother joined me in a Bike shop to point out the options. I went into another one this morning, and will check out another one this afternoon. It is still all a blur to me, but it is starting to matter. Once I actually get on my bike and start riding, new blurs will start making sense. I am looking forward to discovering the bike lanes of London and surrounds. The ones that don't head into the centre of town and work. The ones that aren't competing with Big Red Busses. Those busses made me put the 'Black One' aside to gather dust. In Bus v Trev, Bus wins everytime. Busses scare me more than sharks or terrorists.

I am looking forward to seeing how getting on a bike changes the way I see the world.
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