Friday, October 20, 2006

Progress

Baboons who live in the African plains spend about one-third of their time sleeping, and when awake they divide their time between travelling, finding and eating food, and free leisure time - which basically consists of interacting, or grooming each other's fur to pick out lice. It's not a very exciting life, yet not much has changed in the million years since humans evolved out of common simian ancestors. The requirements of life still dictate that we spend our time in a way that is not that different from the African baboons. Give or take a few hours, most people sleep for one-third of the day, and use the remainder to work, travel, and rest in more or less the same proportions as the baboons do. And as the historian Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie has shown, in thirteenth-century French villages - which were among the most advanced in the world at the time - the most common leisure pursuit was still that of picking lice out of each other's hair. Now, of course, we have television.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Finding flow

Flow is a reality, I've been in it this week. I have accomplished more on the database in the last three days than in the previous two months (even allowing for the three-week holiday in Canada). The article mentions "overcoming [the] duality of self and object" as a condition or attribute of flow, which is my experience: there is no keyboard when I'm working well, I think of how the programme should look and somehow it changes to suit my idea.

Unfortunately, summoning up this state is for me about as easy as changing the weather. I'm hoping that the book will contain some practical tips on getting into the flow.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Savtadotty said...

How do you pronounce his name?

October 20, 2006 at 2:56:00 PM GMT+2  
Blogger Udge said...

According to the back of the book, it's "chick-SENT-me-high." Without that, I wouldn't have had a clue.

October 20, 2006 at 3:23:00 PM GMT+2  
Blogger zhoen said...

I crave the flow.


Beats the hell out of the Suck.

October 21, 2006 at 2:22:00 AM GMT+2  
Blogger Savtadotty said...

I wonder whether I'll be able to remember that. It's so strange.

October 21, 2006 at 11:12:00 PM GMT+2  
Blogger Collagemama said...

"Sticks in my eye" is the pronunciation I once heard, and never forgot!

February 8, 2008 at 1:06:00 AM GMT+1  

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