One of the features that distinguish human cognition from that of other animals is our ability to consider the future. Without even being aware of it, we constantly consider future options and make choices, balancing different probable outcomes. It gives us tremendous power, but comes at a cost, and only recently have I been aware of how much it occupies my own time.
I just had to crow. A while ago, I picked up a new car, which is to say a car new to me, but very much not new. In fact it was in such bad shape the owner had pretty much given up on it and was selling it as a part’s car. A part’s car. Worse, this wasn’t some Toyota or Chev, it was a Jaguar S-type.
I have always, always, loved jaguar styling (and the name; I think it’s the most beautiful name ever for a brand), but horror stories about Jag quality abound, ‘specially for those built in the bad old days of British Leyland. Ford eventually bought the marque, which is kind of sad, because it’s not like Ford really knew how to build good cars back in the 90’s either, and the rap stuck around like a bad smell, as if every Jag had a dead skunk in the trunk.
But I still loved the cars, and when this one came up, and the owner asking a little over a grand, I had to jump.
I’ll break with tradition and offer an amendment to the previous post here – I’ve thought more about this, and it seems to me that maybe each generation has to learn for itself. When I consider my own travels, rarely did I look to my elders for advice. So much of life seemed to be comprised of other’s ideas about what I should do and be doing, and I wanted to find out on my own, not least in part because learning was important to me. Being told stuff is not at all the same thing. For one thing, what happened to you might not happen to me, and your experience of the same event may not be mine. I suspect that impulse is not just my own, and is a sobering thought to realize that humanity has to relearn what it knows over and over again.
I often did turn to “experts” who had written books on helping yourself through various situations, and with a few rare exceptions, they really weren’t helpful. It’s not that most were necessarily wrong, but that reading about something is not the same as learning it. Unlike an ecology course where you can assume veracity in the concept and term “trophic level”, concepts dealing with the heart and mind were much harder for me to accept just because someone says so. I had to figure it out myself. I know I’m not alone in this.